This week, many of my colleagues are in lovely Paris at the HR Technology World Congress. If you’re joining them, be sure to check out these great sessions. Unfortunately, I’m not in Paris this year. But in consolation, instead I am in my happy place, wallowing in a fresh data set from our latest study on Culture. And any time of year, there’s no place I’d rather be. You see, I take my claim of being a data geek very seriously, and there are few things more intellectually satisfying then seeing the data come in from a survey you have crafted.

Here at Aptitude we call this “being in the cave”, when you put aside the distractions and run with the numbers. And then the numbers start to merge with the experiences you’ve had, and the great conversations from the last conference, and those three briefings the other day, and that group of practitioners you spoke too… and, well, it’s part of what I love about my job.

For those of you who think that all sounds horrible, or at best a bit silly, that’s ok. I do it all for you. So here’s a sneak preview of what we’ve unearthed in our first cuts at the data.

Boy, are we not listening. Only 38% of organizations say that leadership and employees would describe their culture in the same way. Now, it’s fair to say that different functional areas in an organization may have some unique cultural elements – Sales and R&D may rightly feel different – but there is also a gap when it comes to common goals. 53% of leaders say that performance expectations are clearly communicated, but only 34% of the rest of the organization agrees.

Managers are getting left in the dark. As much focus as we put on goal setting, reinventing performance management, and continuous feedback, just 39% of organizations train managers in effective feedback techniques. So while we are busy implementing tools to manage weekly check-ins and frequent feedback, if we’re not improving the quality of the conversations, are we really doing better? Organizations that are supporting their managers in the transition from traditional performance management definitely see differentiated results in several critical areas. Organizations that help managers learn the skills of feedback were 57% more likely to indicate that they have above average levels of productivity and 36% more likely to indicate they had improved their employee experience over the past year.

We’re crazy worried about turnover – but we don’t put our money where our mouth is. Compensation ranked as the number one factor influencing engagement and retention. At the same time, 45% of organizations say that turnover is impacting their ability to serve customers, and 37% say it has caused them to miss production or delivery timelines. But we’re not connecting the two. Just over a third of respondents in our study said they had a formal process in place to address pay equity, one in five consistently benchmark against external compensation data, and only 16% say they train managers on the organization’s compensation strategy and how to apply it

The good news is, our study is also uncovering insights to help overcome these and other key issues around creating a culture that truly helps find and keep the people your business needs. Stay tuned for those upcoming dispatches from the cave!