Less than 18 months after President Donald Trump took office, the list of resignations and terminations goes on and on.
Among those who failed to survive the first half of Trump’s first term, some of the more high-profile departures include National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, FBI Director James Comey, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Even under the media’s microscope, the amount of turnover under Trump remains far from overhyped. The turnover rate during his first year in office hit 34 percent in 2017, double President Ronald Reagan’s first-year rate of 17 percent in 1981, the next-highest total going back nearly 40 years, according to The Brookings Institution, a left-leaning think tank in Washington, D.C.
While Trump’s turnover rate draws plenty of scrutiny, remember that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Far exceeding his turnover rate, that of U.S. employers increased for a sixth-straight year to 43 percent in 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Needless to say, Trump and employers alike can learn something about minimizing turnover, as the average vacancy takes 44 days to fill and costs $500 per day, amounting to a total of $22,000, according to Gartner.
As a political outsider, Trump lacked the inside connections of his predecessors, leaving many to wonder who he would hire to fill thousands of government jobs. Slowly but surely, however, Trump announced nominations for his administration, with many of them immediately generating criticism for a variety of reasons, including inexperience. Still though, that did not stop Trump’s choices from accepting his nominations, such as Tillerson, who had never previously engaged in diplomatic or government talks. Of course, Trump later fired Tillerson, further contributing to his high turnover rate.
Like Trump, employers have jobs to fill, but part of avoiding a revolving door of talent requires attracting qualified candidates to apply. By writing better job descriptions, employers can improve their odds of reaching the right people and take a step toward reducing their turnover rates. In the era of consumer-minded candidates and recruitment marketing, the perfect job descriptions balance information with color, mainly consisting of the following four components: a job title, a definition of the role, an explanation of the ideal candidate and an overview of the company and its culture.
A newcomer to Washington, D.C., Trump had pulled off the biggest upset in political history in the U.S., as neither him nor many closest to him had expected that he would win. As a result, Trump spent the two months in between the election and inauguration – a time that typically provides president-elects with time to prepare for a smooth transition – hurrying to build his administration and get up to speed. To further complicate matters, Trump – who promised to bring change to the political system – wanted to hit the ground running, with plans to tackle major issues that stretched from health care to tax reform, which would leave his hires with little time to get settled. Less than two years later, few of them remain.
Similar to Trump, employers regularly confront the challenge of high-volume hiring, a task exacerbated by their high turnover. By implementing a formal onboarding program, however, employers can improve employee retention and productivity from the get-go. In fact, 69 percent of employees who experience great onboarding will likely stay with a company for three years, according to Sterling Talent Solutions. Meanwhile, new employees also prove more productive in their first few weeks of work when employers use digital onboarding, according to The Talent Board. With an onboarding solution such as iCIMS Onboard, employers can supply new hires with resources and objectives, while also reducing paperwork and improving productivity.
So far, despite so much turnover, Trump has filled many vacated positions fairly fast. After White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus unofficially resigned, Trump appointed John Kelly four days later. Before Chair of the Federal Reserve Janet Yellen’s term ended, Trump selected Jerome Powell as a successor. And when White House Director of Communications Sean Spicer resigned, Trump tapped Anthony Scaramucci, who he fired after merely 10 days and replaced two weeks later with Hope Hicks, who recently resigned.
Even with plenty of room to reduce turnover, the fact remains that Trump would inevitably face some level of it, as previous presidents have. Similarly, employers will never fully eliminate turnover, but they can better prepare for it by building talent pools of passive candidates to quickly fill vacated jobs. While Trump benefits from people leaping at highly prestigious government job openings, employers lack that luxury and therefore need a candidate relationship management solution. With iCIMS Connect, employers can proactively court passive candidates by nurturing relationships and flaunting employer brands through emails, event invitations, social media and more.