More than 1,800 Zendeskians from across our global Product Development organization gathered recently to attend the sixth virtual Zendesk Tech Summit (ZTS). Each year, the highly anticipated event offers employees from our product and engineering organization the opportunity to learn, plan, innovate, and strategize, while fostering existing connections and forming new ones, and of course having some fun along the way.
Creating a customer-centric strategy
Zendesk is committed to designing and developing products and solutions that help our customers deliver the best experiences for their customers. Chief engineering officer, Pat Copeland, reiterated in his opening keynote how Zendesk is investing in innovation that will continue to define the future of customer experience. This starts with understanding their needs, solving their problems, and then delivering market-leading products and solutions that are known for their scalability, security, ease of use, time to value, and flexibility.
The responsibility to innovate belongs to everyone at Zendesk. That is why attendees were given the opportunity to showcase new projects through live demo sessions, and share how their work is directly impacting our customers. These sessions are both a highlight and an integral part of ZTS. It helps attendees learn what is front-of-mind for our customers and ensures Zendesk is putting them at the center of everything they do.
Supporting a continuous learning culture
ZTS attendees heard from more than 300 employee speakers from around the organization. Presentation topics ranged from how to be data driven, technical deep dives, and culture and leadership inclusivity.
This exchange of information amongst our own employees was designed to foster stronger teamwork. Very few jobs today exist in a silo, and employees, organizations and customers alike benefit from continuing to find new ways of working better together. Collaborating at work allows teams to capitalize on the strengths and contributions of each person in a way that results in greater performance and higher levels of productivity.
Since 2018, we have become a much larger and even more distributed Engineering organization, and modern ZTS has scaled up and adapted to meet the needs of Zendesk today. Everybody gets to be included, and even across our many time zones, we still get to feel like we’re having one big event together. – Gary Grossman, Portfolio Architect
Springboard professional development opportunities
This year’s ZTS provided an opportunity to highlight the strong technical expertise and leadership across our product and engineering teams. The impact of speaking at ZTS goes far beyond the event itself. For many, it has been the springboard to professional development opportunities, including speaking at other conferences, landing book contracts and filing for patents.
Each year my favorite takeaway is always the energy and learning but above all else the connections I make with my colleagues and Zendesk friends, especially new connections made. – Caroline Hynes, Senior Director, Product Development
Digital first is the Zendesk way of working and connecting
Over the past three years, we have made significant changes to how we deliver the employee experience at Zendesk. Like everyone in 2020, we quickly pivoted to remote work for all employees and we understand connections are the cornerstone of a successful virtual environment.
One of the ways we continue to foster connections remotely is by encouraging individuals to show up to work as their whole selves. During ZTS, employees participated in Humans of Product Development, a segment designed to show their ‘human side’ and give peers insight into their various hobbies and talents outside the workplace, including video game collecting, magic tricks, and gardening.
While 98% of our employees continue to work remotely, with nearly 6,000 team members being dispersed across dozens of timezones, we know continuing to nurture connections through virtual social activities continue to be essential for creating strong team dynamics and promoting a positive work culture. When team members feel connected and supported, they are more likely to work together towards common goals, share their ideas and collaborate effectively.
Taking time out to prepare and deliver content, and to attend sessions with an open mind and engaged heart is a big commitment! But, the end result of a more connected and more informed team is priceless. – Jon Aniano, SVP Product
To learn more about the product development organization, read chief engineering officer Pat Copeland’s thoughts on how his team is creating the best experiences for Zendesk customers.