Human Capital Strategy for Social Enterprises

Build a values-based culture to attract, develop and retain employees

Course Details

  • Price: FREE
  • Start Date: September 9, 2019
  • Time: 3 hours/week
  • Duration: 7 weeks
  • Partner: Hitachi Foundation, Anne-Claire Broughton

What You’ll Learn:

  • Develop organizational values and culture intentionally
  • Learn practical tactics for recruiting, interviewing, hiring and firing
  • Draft your organizational structure and plan for how it will adapt over time
  • Structure monetary and non-monetary compensation so that employees feel valued and rewarded
  • Gain strategies to implement professional development programs and manage employee performance


When scaling a business, many entrepreneurs consider the financial capital they’ll have to raise. However, a social enterprise’s ability to succeed in complex markets is also contingent on its human capital.

Developing strategies to attract, retain and develop employees can give a business significant competitive advantage. This course will lead you through the basics of developing a human capital strategy.  You’ll learn how to intentionally design your company’s values and culture, recruit and hire the right people, adapt your organizational structure as you scale, and build effective teams.  You’ll also learn how to structure compensation, manage employee performance, and offer relevant professional development. This course is ideal for early stage entrepreneurs thinking about how to build and grow their teams in impact-driven companies.

Format and Timing:

  • Team-Based Course: We strongly encourage (but do not require) that you form a team of 2-8 people to take the course with. It works best to find friends or coworkers who can meet in person. Need to find team members? You can post to the discussion forums a month before the course starts.
  • Platform: Philanthropy University (+Acumen developed the course. We host this course on the Philanthropy University platform.)
  • Timing: This course will be open for 7 weeks. You can work through the materials at your own pace during the time the course is open. There are no required times for you to log in. There will be suggested deadlines for you to complete each assignment. The final deadline is the final day of the course.

Course Syllabus

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  • 5 reading guides highlighting case studies and examples
  • 5 discussion guides to lead your team through collaborative discussions about your talent strategy
Culture and Values
  • Reading: Case Studies from Ethiochicken, New Story Charity, and Edubridge
  • Reading: Why Human Capital Matters
  • Reading: Elements of Human Capital Strategy
  • Reading: Key Mindsets
  • Reading: Starting with Values and Culture
  • Reading: Examples of Organizational Values
  • Exercise: Defining Organizational Values
  • Exercise: Translating Your Values into Action
  • Reading: Translating Values into Culture
  • Resource: Group Discussion Guide
Organizational Structure
  • Reading: Case Study of Edubridge
  • Reading: Why Organizational Structure Matters
  • Reading: Start With Your Business Model
  • Exercise: Connecting Your Business Model to Your Talent Needs
  • Reading: 4 Types of Organizational Structures
  • Exercise: Connecting Your Talent Needs to Your Organizational Structure
  • Reading: Communication with the Organizational Structure
  • Reading: Planning for Change
  • Reading: Phases of Organizational Growth
  • Reading: Succession Planning
  • Exercise: 3 Versions of Your Organizational Structure
  • Resource: Group Discussion Guide
  • Reading: Case Study from New Story Charity
  • Reading: Introduction to Recruiting
  • Reading: Additional Resources for Structuring Your Recruiting Process
  • Reading: How the Typical Recruiting Process Unfolds
  • Reading: Identify Your Talent Needs
  • Reading: Scoping the Job
  • Reading: Sourcing Candidates
  • Reading: Selecting Candidates
  • Exercise: Searching for Cultural Fit
  • Reading: Selecting Candidates
  • Reading: Case Study of New Story Charity
  • Reading: Closing the Offer
  • Exercise: Structure Your Organization’s Recruitment Flow
  • Resource: Group Discussion Guide
Optimizing Performance
  • Reading: Performance Management and Incentives
  • Reading: Case Study of Ethiochicken
  • Reading: 3 Core Components of Performance Management
  • Reading: Goal Setting and Goal Science
  • Exercise: Build a Goals Flow Chart
  • Reading: Developing a Culture of Feedback
  • Reading: The SBI Method for Giving Feedback
  • Reading: 6 Tips for Receiving Feedback
  • Reading: Performance Review and Reflection
  • Exercise: Practice Giving Feedback Using the SBI Method
  • Reading: Preparing for a Performance Review
  • Reading: How to Do a 360 Feedback Session
  • Reading: Managing Underperformers and Termination
  • Reading: Structuring Incentives and Promotions
  • Exercise: Reflection Questions
  • Supplemental Reading: 4 Lessons from Behavioral Economics to Motivate Your Employees
Talent Development
  • Case Study: Ethiochicken
  • Reading: Why Talent Development Matters
  • Reading: An Interview with Molly Alexander, Director of Talent Development
  • Reading: When and Where Talent Development Occurs
  • Exercise: Reflection on Your Experience with Talent Development
  • Reading: The 70-20-10 Concept in Practice
  • Reading: Breaking Down Online, In-Person and Blended Models
  • Reading: How to Assess Whether a Facilitator is Right for Your Organization
  • Reading: Building Effective Teams
  • Exercise: Final Assignment
The course already started. Can I still enroll?
You can enroll up to 2 weeks after the start date of the course.
When will the next course be offered?
We offer our courses a few times a year. Sign up for our emails to be notified of the next time the course will be offered.
Do I get a certificate for this course?
You will earn a Statement of Accomplishment if you complete 5 of 6 assignments, including the final assignment, by the last day of the course.
How do teams work?
We recommend you find friends or colleagues for your team that you can meet with in person each week. Each team member should register for the course individually. You’ll then be able to form your team on the NovoEd platform once the course begins.
Do I have to complete the course with a team?
While we believe taking the course with a team will give you the best experience and chance of completing the course, it is possible to complete the course individually if you wish.
What should I expect from the assignments?
You will create a Life Map, develop your own personal story, integrate it into a larger presentation, and record your presentation for feedback from your classmates. You should allocate at least one hour a week to complete each assignment.

Supported By

The Hitachi Foundation (Active until 2016). The Foundation’s closing strategy aims to address a critical question of our time: In this rapidly changing workforce environment, how do we make work work for the many who feel stuck and left behind? The strategy transitions all assets into three mission-aligned organizations: the Economic Opportunities Program at the Aspen Institute; the Institute for Work & Employment Research at MIT’s Sloan School of Management; and Investors’ Circle.

Anne-Claire Broughton is Principal of Broughton Consulting, LLC, a firm which helps organizations engage employees at all levels for business success through open book management, employee ownership, and healthy organizational cultures. Publications include The Hitachi Foundation’s Human Capital Advantage: A Curriculum for Early Stage Ventures (upon which this +Acumen course is based). She previously spent more than 13 years advising early stage business as Co-Founder and Senior Director of SJF Institute.

What People Are Saying

"I am so grateful for this course and the knowledge I learned, has significant value as I am able to help out with some of our HR matters, and that bring so much joy to our company." - A learner from South Africa