HR in Aged Care

Every organisation ought to include a Human Resource employee. An HR expert who understands the legal compliance with governmental regulations and can manage and organise people to aid in the growth of organisational productivity and reduce any internal unethical practices. Our first and only onsite and reliable HR Coordinator, Jennifer Polo, shares some insight into herself and the role she has embraced to improve our staff’s quality of work-life continually. 

Jennifer is an intelligent and organised person who spends her non-work days with her two children, who were lucky to go on a ferry ride to the Museum of Sydney and played tourists exploring our beautiful Sydney city.

Jennifer came to KOPWA – a not for profit (NFP) – organisation with a great understanding of legal and labour expertise. She jumped on the opportunity to do something different to her previous corporate employments, for she enjoys learning and broadening her experiences. KOPWA was blessed to find a good fit in Jen as she indicated her preference to be in industries focused on improving the lives of others and the broader community. Her desire in choosing an NFP aged care provider aligned to her values around being a part of a care sector that enriches our society. As our first HR Coordinator, she could directly see the positive impact of her work. This role is her chance to implement strategies to grow skills and competencies in staff and look for ways to improving how we operate between ourselves and appreciate its impact on the business. Her intent to form these foundations is essential as KOPWA grows to have the appropriate processes, structures, and technology to support its growth.

Apart from being an effective business administrator, Jennifer has excellent interpersonal and communication skills who collaborate with other significant management team members. Whether it is in the corporate or aged care sectors, her ability to acknowledge the combination of factors with assumptions of intent and personal experiences may lead to conflict between staff. She is super passionate about actively listening and observing non-verbal language to grasp the person’s perspective fully. She shares deep insight and knowledge as to why human behaviours that have been shaped through societal, environmental, and personal experiences hold multiple priorities in the words we speak. These priorities significantly differ, and the messaging becomes distorted and sometimes ineffective. Her genuine and kind nature recognises all feedback and communication styles between our caring-natured co-workers are a continual work in progress. As a care industry, we are better placed to listen to each other than other commercial sectors.

To date, some of the improved systems Jennifer has introduced in KOPWA are more streamlined recruitment process through the use of behavioural interviewing techniques. This can help determine if potential staff can do the role advertised and recruit to our compassionate, respectful, responsible, and driven values. Other improvements include:

  • Updating all the HR policies.
  • Introducing communication newsletters.
  • Utilising staff surveys data to implement changes.
  • Active injury management.
  • Consistent performance management processes.
  • Functional training opportunities.

Jennifer has the vision to achieve the goals and maintain KOPWA’s high organisation standards and value. Among the many processes, she would love to automate processes, move them online, and eliminate paper use. Hopefully, these changes will help us make business decisions and consistently communicate with all our staff. 

Her crystal ball of wishes following Stage 2 completion is that we can keep the excellent and effective aspects of KOPWA’s culture through her efforts. In that, she loves walking around and seeing the smiling faces of our staff (behind their mask!) and their genuine care for our residents and each other. She desires all staff to ‘think outside the square’ and encourage all staff to initiate ideas that can implement ‘play’ – a concept to integrate engaging moments between residents and staff. Her wish is for everyone to understand KOPWA’s objectives regarding ‘play’; for the team to be proactive and practice allowing their individual and diverse imagination in making everyday activities a real engaged moment for our residents.

I thank Jennifer Polo for her time in giving us a deep and shared insight into the benefits of having an HR role amongst our KOPWA team. If you are interested in finding out more on how to be part of KOPWA’s team, contact us on 02 9412 0284 or email us on administration@kopwa.org.au