Community Health Worker Supervisor Core Competency Training

A strong team of community health workers needs a qualified supervisor who has the right CHW supervisor training to do their job. But the field of community health is so varied that it can be hard to judge what a “qualified” supervisor really looks like. Without some guidelines, you’ll find it hard to hire for or train a CHW supervisor based on their abilities.

That’s why we put together this guide of core competencies for CHW supervisors. It will help you know what to look for when you’re hiring and also where to boost their training.

Leadership Training Program

Supervisory skills for those working with community-based teams in flexible online courses.

What Does a Community Health Worker Supervisor Do?

First, think about the CHW manager’s role and responsibilities. That manager is the link between CHWs on the ground and the larger system. That might be a healthcare system, or it might be a community-based group. They’re the people who can make sure that CHWs have the skills and knowledge they need to do their job.

Also, they’ll probably do tasks related to program planning, implementation, and evaluation. They’ll work closely with other healthcare professionals and community stakeholders.

Some supervisors enter the role with more experience on the CHW side or more experience in the institution side, often with training from an organization like SHRM. They may have been a CHW, so they know what kind of support others need. On the other hand, they may not know much about what a CHW does, especially since it’s a role new to many organizations. But they could have stronger traditional supervisory skills.

Whichever domain the supervisor comes from, they may need chw supervisor training in these areas.

Communication Skills

Supervisors need to have strong communication skills. They need to express themselves well with CHWs, other managers, community partners, administrators and possibly healthcare providers. These are all people who work in different areas and who might not relate with each other on a regular basis. The supervisors needs to be able to work well with all of them.

Above all, they should be able to give clear instructions and feedback to CHWs. They need to be able to deal with any concerns or issues with their team quickly and efficiently.

Leadership Skills

Supervisors also need strong leadership skills to keep CHWs working at their peak. The need to inspire and motivate, set goals and expectations, and keep the team working together.

You can search for supervisors with strong leadership skills, but you can also train them. You can give them training in emotional intelligence, for example, or match them with a mentor. This is especially good training, because they should be providing mentorship for their team. And you can give them focused training on topics like conflict resolution so they can deal with any client or staff issues when they arise.

Training on Program Policies and Procedures

An important part of training for community health worker supervisors is teaching them about the rules and steps that your program needs them to follow.

This includes making sure supervisors know policies and procedures for the whole program team.

For example, imagine your program’s CHW is supposed to meet with their clients once per month. A supervisor needs to know this so they can review CHW schedules and make sure they’re meeting program requirements. This kind of training is often done from within.

Monitoring Community Health Worker Performance

Supervisors need to check how well CHWs are doing their job to make sure they’re helping the program reach its goals. They do this in a few ways, including:

  • Having meetings to talk about how things are going
  • Watching staff members while they’re working with clients
  • Reviewing papers and reports they fill out
  • Protecting against burnout

Without an eye on performance, they won’t know where a CHW can improve. Keeping an active role in their CHWs job—without micromanaging—lets them give advice when needed and reward top performance.

Recruitment and Retention

Depending on the size and format of your organization, the supervisor might also need to have recruitment skills. Certainly they should know how to retain workers to keep employees happy and on board.

Some organizations have separate hiring departments in charge of vetting and hiring CHWs. In others, supervisors are in charge of writing job descriptions, reviewing applications, doing interviews and more. In this case, they should know how to document job duties so they can feed that into the hiring process.

Supervisor skills for CHW managers are complex, but they are important. They can also be taught through a good training program. If you’ve followed these steps and guidelines, you’ll be in a much better position for having managers who can bring the most out of the CHW program.

Leadership Training Program

Supervisory skills for those working with community-based teams in flexible online courses.