The SIX RIGHTS of CHW Integration: Part 1
Updated: Apr 27
Successfully integrating Community Health Workers (CHWs) involves six components:
1.The Right CHW
2.The Right TRAINING
3.The Right TOOLS
4.The Right SUPERVISION & SUPPORT
5.The Right PROTOCOLS & WORKFLOWS
6.The Right FUNDING
In this article, we will share tips for organizations to ensure they hire the RIGHT CHW, the first time. We asked Local Health Departments what their biggest challenges were related to CHW recruitment and hiring. The top 3 responses included:
Defining the CHW role and identity within the organization
Recruiting and selecting qualified and diverse candidates
Hiring and onboarding
Mantain and Protect the CHW Identity
Hiring the Right CHW for your organization is more than just ensuring you hire a candidate that identifies with the population being served. Although that is a plus, organizations must also ask themselves: Is the CHW a good fit for the population/community being served? Will patients and clients be accepting of this individual? What about the internal team, leadership, partners, and stakeholders? Will this individual be a good fit for our organizational culture? The first step to maintaining and protecting the CHW identify is defining it and communicating this information both to the CHW and other staff.
What will you call CHWs at your organization?
What will they be allowed to do?
What will they NOT be allowed to do?
What department will they be belong to?
Where will they fall on the org chart?
Sometimes agencies don’t always understand the unique value that CHWs bring to the table but need to work hard to maintain and protect the CHW identity. The biggest advocate and organizational champion for the CHW should be the CHW supervisor or manager. The CHW Supervisor is responsible for:
Advocating for, and on behalf of the CHW
Articulating the role, value, scope of practice and limitation
Teaching the CHW to advocate for themselves.
Recruit Candidates from Diverse Backgrounds
Ensure your hiring the RIGHT CHW by recruiting and interviewing candidates from diverse backgrounds:
Evaluate your job postings: Ensure your job postings use inclusive language that welcomes candidates from all backgrounds. Avoid using terms or phrases that may deter diverse candidates from applying.
Expand your recruiting efforts: Reach out to a variety of sources, such as diversity and inclusion organizations, minority job boards, and professional associations that represent diverse groups.
Offer diverse interview panels: Include members of your team who represent diverse backgrounds to evaluate CHW candidates during the hiring process. This can help eliminate unconscious bias and provide a more inclusive perspective.
Use behavior-based interview questions: Ask behavior-based interview questions that are specific to the job requirements and focus on past experiences to predict future job performance.
Conduct multiple interviews: Conduct multiple rounds of interviews with different members of the team to evaluate the candidate's fit with the team and the organization's culture.
Use skills-based assessments: Use skills-based assessments to evaluate candidates' skills and experience, rather than relying solely on resumes and cover letters, (which can also be influenced by unconscious bias).
Look for qualities that CHWs should possess: the RIGHT CHW has a demonstrated history of volunteerism or community service, they are empathetic and they are good communicators (to include listeners). You can ascertain this information by asking the right questions during the interview process.
By implementing these strategies, you can help ensure that your hiring process is inclusive and attracts a diverse pool of CHW candidates so you hire the RIGHT CHW for your community and your organization.
Ready to hire a Community Health Worker? Download our CHW Hiring Assessment to assess your organization's readiness to hire the RIGHT CHW the FIRST TIME.
If your organization needs assistance integrating or training Community Health Workers, visit our website to learn about the ways we can support you.