DEAM13, the Direct Employers Network Conference


Evening reception at the San Diego Zoo.

This past October, I was fortunate enough to attend the DirectEmployers Annual Meeting/Conference for the 2nd year in a row. I want to share some of my experiences while at the conference. Over the course of my career, I have been privileged to attend many conferences around the country and I would say the amount of information shared and the true learning aspect of this conference made it one of the best.

The DirectEmployers Association was formed in 2001 and currently has 674 members. They are a nonprofit association built to help its members with key issues within Human Resources and Talent Acquisition. They pride themselves on sharing information with their members to help them sort through issues like OFCCP compliance and recruitment. The sharing of information was abundant and the people that attended were truly there to help one another. Instead of the stuffy convention hall set up, where you are poked and prodded by the latest “great new thing”, the atmosphere was more interactive and open. This allowed people to interact and discuss the current issues that their companies are dealing with. The attendees and representatives from DirectEmployers were constantly making introductions and selflessly trying to assist one another. Everyone seemed completely open in helping their peers to educate each other and share best practices.

OFCCP compliance was a big part of the conference. Members were able to attend many different breakout sessions to learn and share about the changes related to the VEVRAA and 503 Series. They addressed the new regulations and how they impact the member compliance and recruiting efforts. They even had an “Ask the Experts” panel to hear from experts that are dealing with the same questions.


Mary Lou Retton keynote address at DEAM13

Recruiting topics ranged from using marketing and branding for Veteran Candidates, their .JOBS Microsites and how to create a talent network by pairing your CRM and ATS. A common theme with all of these topics seemed to be companies having to do more with less as it relates to recruitment. Internal HR and Talent Acquisition teams are being asked to increase their speed to value and at the same time decrease or keep their same budget from the previous year. Using the .JOBS network created by DirectEmployers was another recruitment topic to help educate how to attract the skill sets you are recruiting and not be so dependent on job boards. Discussions around best practices were freely shared which educated and increased efficiencies of the members.

All of this free information was amazing and from the feedback I was able to get from the members, very useful. The level of engagement throughout the conference seemed to always be full tilt. Not once did I witness anyone not willing to share and help one another. The professionalism displayed by the DirectEmployers staff and the membership base definitely help set this conference apart from others I’ve attended. The truly open format made the DEAM13 conference unique.

Looking forward to DEAM14, March 2014 in Washington, DC!


Keith with keynote Carey Lohrenz.

Comments are closed.