Bill Warren, Executive Director of the DirectEmployers Association
Last week, I attended the Direct Employers Annual Meeting in Scottsdale. I was impressed by everything I saw:
— The value of the Association
— The quality of the event
The value of Direct Employers
Direct Employers is a nonprofit HR consortium of employers started in 2001 under the leadership of Bill Warren, an HR veteran, who was the founder of the first online recruiting company in 1992. After a great career, Bill's goal was to help corporations organize and build a top‐level .jobs domain similar to others like .edu or .gov. Today, the success of Direct Employers is obvious: It provides low cost solutions to online recruiting, unambiguously improves labor market efficiencies, and has reached the milestone of one million jobs from over 100,000 employers in syndication who benefit from the basic service for free. For 93% of users, the online experience begins with a search engine, something that recruiting via Internet must take into account. Hence the critical importance of .Jobs, as well as the outstanding SEO offered by DirectEmployers. I'll let you browse through the scope of services provided by the organization as well as the amazing range of its partnerships and job syndication alliances, but one thing is clear: Its current 600+ members who leverage all the services of Direct Employers, have clearly proven the power of sharing best practices, advancing industry standards, providing research, as well as understanding big data analysis and what reducing recruiting costs is about. Any .org relies on the efficiency and dedication of its leadership and employees as well as the evangelistic power of any person who happens to be exposed to such organization. So here is my advice: if your organization is not yet a member, it should become one — for, in this case, pursuing the common good of offering jobs to people also serves the pursuit of each company's self-interest.
The quality of the event
This Annual Conference is the most informative conference I have seen so far in the HR industry. First of all, it's not a "show." It's a place where employers share their experiences and initiatives to inform peers of what is working for them — whether best practices in strategic interviewing to building an online recruiting brand, creating veteran outreach, understanding the potential and challenges of social media exposure, optimizing recruiting efforts with a clear SEO strategy, focusing on meaningful performance metrics, or designing a mobile career fair engagement. Presenters know first-hand what they are talking about as practitioners, strongly involved decision makers, or as employees of the Association.
It's hard to isolate any single reason why a conference elicits such unanimous and sincere kudos. Clearly the organizing team's acumen is critical — as is a participative audience of educated professionals. I would also venture something else... The HR industry talks a lot about diversity while, in practice, showing very little of it, as, quite strikingly, in the main industry events, the majority of the speakers are men. What definitely sets apart Direct Employers is the presence of women. Its board members include a majority of women. The committee directing this year's programming, promotional opportunities and sponsorships was comprised mostly of women, in addition to the (women-run) marketing organization of Direct Employers. Last but not least, the number of women presenters exceeded the number of men...
Two phenomenal keynote speakers enthused the attendees for their grit and their unstoppable determination, Aron Ralston, the inspired adventurer of 127 Hours and Sage Steele, the epitome of the working mother who made her way into a male-dominated world of sport (ESPN SportsCenter Co-Host), who recounted her "lessons learned" with wit, fire and truthfulness.
Conclusion... Become a member of DirectEmployers, don't miss their annual meeting — and check their smaller events too!