Reversim is a big conference that happens every year around October. The attendees are developers, and anyone can submit a talk. After the CFP close, there’s a month for voting for the talks, and then moderators pick talks for their tracks accordingly.
Some might think it’s important to pick just a few really good speakers to represent a company. In our opinion, it’s not the right thing to do in this case. Reversim’s characteristic is community driven, and they love to give opportunities to first time speakers. Even just submitting, without being selected, is great publicity both for the submitter and the company she comes from — due to the voting mechanism. Since many people go through the submissions in order to vote, the exposure is great.
By encouraging our peers to submit, we also created a pool of talks, and we will do our best to make sure that every one of the talks is presented at a certain conference or meet-up. Convincing someone to speak when they already have a talk, is much easier.
But what if someone who’s new to speaking gets chosen, and gives a mediocre talk? Well, we have speaker training, an in house dry run and the official Reversim dry run. We trust the process. If someone does eventually have a mediocre talk then we’re also fine with it. After all, you only get better by practicing. With time their talks will become better and better and eventually we’ll end up with a great speaker. We will also come up as a company that supports our employees and gives opportunities, and this will help us keep our culture healthy. This is why we encouraged each and every one of our peers.
How did we do it? Many companies have some process of supporting personal growth of employees within the organization. We decided to attack the skill of public speaking, which is directly important to one’s career, and also has benefits for the company. The course some of the employees took part in is close to ending now, and this is a perfect opportunity to practice.
Like with the blogs, we split the entire office (including everyone) between four motivators, and:
- Made sure people understand the benefits of speaking.
- Brainstormed with our peers to find ideas. Not always from work — some ideas were side projects.
- Sent our co-workers talks from previous conferences given on similar topics / by similar positions.
- Helped with creating short video for people who didn’t have one (this is mandatory for submission).
- Reviewed the textual proposals.
I can’t state enough how special it is to have this initiative come from the engineers and not from managers. Have individuals in the organization take time to support other peers pushing forward their careers makes the organization incredibly robust. This was supported by managers of course.
This will also help us increase the online and offline visibility of our engineering brand, and of course to recruit new talent.
Reversim had 374 submissions in total this year, 4.3% of them are by BigPanda employees.
What is your community-related culture?