Last updated at Tue, 20 Jun 2023 20:08:52 GMT

At Rapid7, we recognize that managers are at the heart of our mission and are central to optimizing the potential of our people. So naturally, focusing on the growth and development of our manager population became critical to productivity, engagement, retention, and creating strong teams, as well as Rapid7's overall success. From there, Manager Bootcamp 1.0 was created.

The history of Manager Boot Camp

The original, fully in-person program targeted newly hired or promoted managers and consisted of eight modules that ran over the course of two full days. The modules focused on the key skills managers would need to successfully manage a team at Rapid7, including sessions like coaching, delegation, team building, goal setting, feedback, and engagement, as well as an introduction to key partnerships and the overview of tactical elements and processes. The structure of the lessons was a blend of lectures, breakout activities, and group discussions.

Then the pandemic hit and historical face-to-face teaching practices were no longer an option. Overnight, all of People Dev’s sessions had to transform into virtual instructor-led sessions (VILT). Quickly realizing that two full days of online learning wouldn’t have the same impact or engagement as the previous live sessions, the team began the process of re-engineering the learning experience. In the spirit of Challenging Convention, over the course of 2020 and 2021, a variety of program formats were created, trialed, and iterated upon: A cohort model was introduced, both a 10- and five-week format were tested, learning was broken up between VILTs and peer discussion groups, lessons were a mix of instructor-led lectures and discussion prompts, and learnings were supplemented by optional, hour-long “Manager Core Skill” sessions that honed in on specific skills aligned to Rapid7’s Manager Effectiveness Bar.

Though the program’s feedback scores remained high, the team felt that in order to best support and empower Rapid7 Managers and shift learner behaviors in a growing, global, hybrid environment, they had to re-engineer the program even further — by flipping it. Senior People Development Specialist Carolyn Kirkman stated, “Flipped content allows learners to optimize the time in session for more application-based work… we are continuously trying to find the right approach, but this method — reserving session time for practical application — is a win for putting real-world skills to use.”

Flipping the boot: Manager Boot Camp 2022

At the start of 2022, the new, flipped eight-week Manager Boot Camp launched, with 48 participants split between two cohorts (North America and EMEA).

The new experience seamlessly tied together not only flipped content but also brand-new modules focusing on skills represented in Rapid7’s Manager Effectiveness Bar, as well as those necessary to support our growing business and teams. The delivery of content was a blend of prep work (pre-session) delivered via bite-sized learnings, live sessions, and post-session peer groups.

Kirsty McAleese, Senior People Development Specialist, notes, “Having the training sessions spread over eight weeks, using a flipped approach, gives managers the opportunity to practice what they’re learning before and in between sessions, which helps them to better retain and utilize their new skills,” and the design gives the team the ability to “engage a global audience without the boundaries of time and location, while maintaining peer-to-peer learning and application opportunities.”

To tailor the content and experience to each cohort’s needs and to ensure longer-term impact, the program begins and ends with a skills pulse check. Not only does this allow the team to compare pre/post program scores to ensure effectiveness, it also promotes self-awareness for the participants and encourages partnership with their own managers around their continued growth and development.

Recognizing that creating connections was a key element of success while working in a hybrid environment, the program uses individual Slack cohort channels, as well as Peer Discussion Groups to foster a sense of community and accountability, both prior to and throughout the program. In the Slack channel, managers can share information and seek help while the Peer Groups embody our value of an Impact Together by enabling peer learning and ongoing, thoughtful discussion and reflection around the most recent topics, as well as one-on-one time with the People Strategists.

When considering the content, People Dev leaned into the importance of cohesion and the flipped mindset. They knew it was key that the information being delivered aligned the skills being learned with Rapid7’s manager standards and the larger goals of the business. To ensure the greatest impact, they created prep work for foundational information and reflection, which allowed classroom time to be focused on practicing learned skills and connecting with business leaders and People Strategy.

“By transferring some of the theory content to prep-work, we are allowing the learner to have knowledge beforehand,” said Kirkman. "It allows for flexibility to learn on the go, at a time convenient to the learner. People enjoy having autonomy in regards to when they will learn. With a scaling, global audience, it’s important that we provide resources for asynchronous learning.” To further encourage asynchronous  learning, and streamline the flipped experience, the team built a one-stop-shop microsite containing supplemental materials that encourage a Never Done mindset both during and after the program.

At Rapid7, we believe managers are impact multipliers, responsible for building, growing, and optimizing the potential of their people, teams and ultimately the company. In regards to the new program, McAleese said, “The new modules [and experience] were designed to build a stronger bench of future leaders as well as meet the needs of our business in our bid to scale and close the security achievement gap – while also ensuring our managers have the skills needed to be champions for our people.“

Check out what some of our Moose are saying!

Program and Sessions

  • “What was discussed are all things I can implement and be mindful of in my management work.”
  • The class conversations and learnings have given me more tools to use as a manager… There was a great mix of tutorials and activities and sessions at the correct duration. Plenty of interactive conversations.”

Flipped Content

  • “Brilliant course. Compressed material provides a very detailed introduction to employee engagement and related aspects… Good starting point so I can then have the deeper conversations in session”
  • “I was able to do this training over a couple of hours between meetings. So that made it a great way to utilize in-between time... and [if needed] I could speed up the videos to match my ability and comprehension.”

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