Job analysis for CHWs

Why You Need a Job Analysis To Hire Community Health Workers

You may already be sold on the idea of hiring one or more community health workers to work for you. You’ve probably done enough research to know what community health workers (CHWs), promotores or other health promoters do in general, but you might not know what your CHW will do.

Being able to identify all the tasks and responsibilities of a person who will join your care team is the first step to hiring for the job of a CHW. Without knowing these, you can’t really know how to build a job description to put into a job posting.

But how do you figure out what those tasks and responsibilities are?

By doing a job analysis.

These are the top resources and tools you’ll need to find, train, and retain talents that align with your organization’s mission.

What is a job analysis?

A job analysis is the process you go through to figure out:

  • tasks
  • responsibilities
  • skills
  • objectives
  • and other criteria for a specific job.

A job analysis will help you not only discover and list all of these employment details, but it can give you a framework for selecting your new hire, training, onboarding, job duties, termination and a career path for your new CHW.

If adding a CHW is new for you, especially if they’re joining a bigger multidisciplinary healthcare team, you’ll find it a worthwhile exercise for understanding how your new recruits will fit in with the wider agency.

Differences between a Job Analysis and a Job Description

It’s helpful to understand the difference between a job analysis and a job description. In simple terms, a job analysis is the process you go through to understand what a CHW will do. A job description is a written document that has a list of what a CHW will do to perform the job.

If you want to know more about how to write a job description for the best CHW applicants, start with this guide and free template.

How to do a job analysis

Follow these steps to complete a job analysis. Make sure you’re writing down the results for each of the following steps rather than just thinking them through. Your job analysis document is a valuable resource for your agency and new hires. By the time you’re done, you’ll find writing a custom job description will go smoothly.

Step 1: Gather information on the job.

If you already have a CHW or person doing a similar job on your staff, start there. Pull together all the information you can find that describes what the job is. If your agency is new to CHWs, then you can pull together information from partners or web searches.

Pull together such information as:

  • CHW position descriptions, either at your organization or elsewhere
  • Official standards for what a CHW does
  • Your state or agency’s identified CHW core competencies
  • Expert opinions from people who have worked as or with CHWs
  • Reports and studies from other agencies that describe how CHWs work with clients and patients
  • Scope of practice for CHWs

Step 2: Make a list of tasks

Start listing out all the individual tasks that a CHW will do to successfully perform the job. Make sure to cross-check with someone who’s familiar with the roles, boundaries and scope of practice of a CHW.

Be complete with your list of tasks, all the way from updating health records for a patient to outreach at community events. You might find it helpful to walk through an imaginary day in the life of your CHW and list what that person does.

Your rough list of tasks from this step might look like:

  • Follow up with clients after each appointment
  • Make home visits
  • Hold healthy eating presentation for diabetes patients
  • Staff table at community events
  • Monitor blood pressure

Get down all the tasks without worrying about the order. Later, you can organize.

Step 3: Rank and organize the tasks

Now that you have all the tasks listed out, the next step in the job analysis is to rank them by importance. To do this accurately, you might need to check with a subject matter expert, review grant requirements, consult a community health needs assessment, or verify with another source. The way you rank these tasks will be unique to you.

Here’s what the previous list could look like with the tasks ranked by importance, imaging a program whose aim is to reach very ill and isolated patients who find it difficult to visit a clinic.

  • Make home visits
  • Monitor blood pressure
  • Follow up with clients after each appointment
  • Hold healthy eating presentation for diabetes patients
  • Staff table at community events

You can also use a ranking system with a 1 for low importance and a 5 for very high importance.

Step 4: Label the most critical competencies

Work with one of your experts who understands what a CHW does to identify which of the tasks are the most important competencies on the list you made for the job analysis.

Competencies are the knowledge, skills, abilities and behaviors that contribute to individual and organizational performance. An example could be cultural competence, whereby a person understands how to appreciate and interact with someone from another culture.

A skill is the result of repeatedly applying knowledge or ability. An example could be quickly updating a client’s records in your records system.

In other words, which of these tasks must the CHW be able to do in order to be hired for the job. Some skills can be taught later.

Step 5: Match tasks and competencies

Now that you have identified which of those competencies are most important for the job, match up the tasks that are required for them in your analysis. If a task doesn’t seem relevant to a competency, it’s probably not relevant to the job. So you can eliminate it.

Likewise, if a competency doesn’t seem related to one or more tasks, it’s not relevant. Remove it too.

Step 6: Identify training needs

When you understand what kinds of competencies a CHW needs to have in order to be hired, then you can look at training needs. You might need to provide them with CHW core competencies training. Or you might need to supplement their training with onboarding or other skills.

Now that you have completed your job analysis, you’ll find that you have a comprehensive understanding of what a CHW should be doing when they start working for you, what you might need to train them to do, and what kind of a development path they can be on.