CHW training program staff for remote learning

How To Pick the Best Admin Staff and Facilitators for Your Community Health Worker Training Program

If you lead a community health worker program and plan on moving your training to a remote setting, you may face a difficult decision when it comes to choosing your facilitators and administrators.

Should you hire new staff with experience in online course management but not as much about public health?

Should you train an existing employee who knows more about community-based health but less about technology?

Should you choose an external training vendor, like CHWTraining, and outsource it?

Whether you hire an outside facilitator, train up an existing teammate or outsource someone to lead your remote learning program, all decisions have pros and cons. And every organization’s needs are unique, so your own requirements should guide the decision. Here’s what you should know about remote training, in case this is all new to you.

The best programs have teams that are well trained in working with an online student base. However, there are some clear pros and cons in terms of choosing a facilitator or administrator. Have a look at the ideal team, and then read through the decision-making guides below.

Having an existing team member run your online CHW training program

Pros of hiring from within

One pro of hiring an existing team member is that you already know them and what they do. You have a history with them that indicates how adept they are at change or if they have untapped skills your team can benefit from. Assigning an existing team member to your training program can make the transition much smoother.

Internal employees also know you and what you do. It takes less time for them to understand the details of your organization and your mission. Plus, an existing trainer also has in-depth knowledge of your material and audience. Becoming a facilitator for your new training program is more about adapting to the online environment than to your company. Someone can always learn how to manage an online workshop or program.

Cost-saving might also be a factor in your decision. Hiring from within reduces hard hiring costs, such as interview time, office space or even relocation fees.

Cons of hiring from within

Promoting a staff member into a new training position has some disadvantages. If many workers are competing for one job, it could create bad feelings among the whole team. This could leak into management, especially if there are people that are resistant to change. Unfortunately, this is common in organizations thinking about setting up their own CHW training programs.

A bigger problem with hiring for computer-based training is that you probably don’t know what you don’t know. How do you develop talent if you’re not sure what to do? Similarly, not all organizations are structurally set up to develop internal talent. These issues combined lead to time, which you might not have to dedicate to changing your in-person trainers into online pros.

Another potential con of choosing an internal hire is that the group dynamics can shift — and not always in a good way. Some people are simply nervous about online training. To succeed in this transition, effective communication is vital for facilitators and learners alike.

Hiring a new trainer to facilitate your CHW training program

Pros of hiring a new trainer

Those are all compelling reasons for tapping your internal talent pool, but hiring an external trainer who has solid knowledge about online administration can be a great investment for your whole organization. While an external trainer won’t know as much about your organization as an existing team member does, they will have important skills in the online environment. Leading an online learning program is different from teaching in a live classroom, and an expert will already know how to overcome obstacles.

The new skills an outside hire can bring will also move into the rest of your organization. A new person brings energy and fresh ideas that energize your workforce and the rest of the staff. This is especially true if your new hire has experience at a competitor organization. The boost to your overall intellectual capital may bring benefits that are hard to put into numbers from the beginning.

Cons of hiring a new trainer

Expertise aside, outside trainers come with their own host of drawbacks. For one, they cost more. According to a study from Matthew Bidwell, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, external hires get paid 18% to 20% more than internal employees do for the same job. They also receive lower performance reviews.

They’re also more likely to leave. That’s hard for an organization to handle when they’ve paid more and have less stability. It can also throw off your remote learning program if you end up with no trainer at all.

Verdict: Is hiring from within or finding a new Administrator better for your CHW Training program?

As a program manager or director, you must decide if it’s better to hire from within than outside, so there’s no correct decision. However, after working for years with organizations in the early stages of creating an online learning program, I recommend hiring from outside.

For most agencies, a new online learning program represents a strategic change, and these changes are very hard to spark from within. Most also lack staff who have computer skills and skills related to communicating online. Fear of technology is a powerful barrier, so it helps to have someone who feels free moving in an online classroom.

Organizations that can’t hire a new staff member should at the very least hire an online education advisor. This person can coach your team through the experience of online training and develop a structure you can use for the life of your program.

Making a hiring decision for online trainers is hard. Contact CHWTraining for a free consultation to understand what path might be better for you.

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