Human Relations Agency

8 min read

The first of a community’s 24 agencies is the Human Relations Agency, which is part of the Human and Financial Capital Department. This agency’s primary objective is to facilitate participants’ entry into the NewVistas system and thereafter assist them to develop their skills and talents to succeed in the system.

The Human Relations Agency is the initial contact point between new and existing participants and the community. As such, it plays a critical role in the recruitment and integration of participants in the community.[1]

Thereafter, the agency offers career and social-related support to participants, sometimes in concert with other agencies.[2]

The Human Relations Agency is part of the Village Bureau, which also includes the Stewardship Agency (agency #2) and Asset Leasing Agency (agency #3). The Capital Department has representation in every village in the form of bureau agents, also known as village presidents.

The entry process, which the Human Relations Agency initiates, is a participant-centered process, with the agency only providing the necessary system and maintenance required to help participants.[3]

The participants are able to navigate through the online system, with help from the village presidents available should the system be unable to satisfy specific issues.

The agency president sets the system dials to reflect specific community objectives, such as the need to attract people of a particular demographic or profession.

The dials may also be changed to reflect participant needs, as communicated by the village presidents.

The Human Relations Agency roles are organized to offer ongoing social and career support to participants. The agency performs these roles either by itself (core responsibilities) or in coordination with other agencies within the community.[4]

Core Responsibilities

The Human Relations Agency’s roles center on facilitating participants to access community services that aid economic production, personal wellbeing and development, and social advancement. The agency’s automated system assists participants by performing the following roles:

  • Acts as the first point of contact between the community and the participant
  • Facilitates integration of new participants into the community
  • Promotes social cohesion within the community, including facilitating arbitration to resolve disputes

First point of contact for participants

The Human Relations Agency puts in place the system that enables potential participants to join the community. This information is also designed to encourage individuals to join the community by highlighting what they stand to gain, as well as the community’s ideals and objectives.[5]

The village presidents are at hand to offer any personal help individuals require during this stage that the system (website) is not able to offer.

In order to personalize information and reflect specific community interests of which people it needs to admit into the community, the system uses algorithmic tools that are aimed at the target groups.

The system uses attributes such as a candidate’s academic level and profession, among others.[6]

Individuals who wish to join can then apply online, using standardized forms designed to collect as much information from the person as possible.

The system processes these applications, looking for specific attributes to determine whether a person should join or not. The vetting process may at some point be directly reviewed by a village president, with the objective of issuing an opinion on the candidate.

Such an opinion is strictly professional, such that another village resident with similar skills would, if offered the same information, arrive at the same conclusion.

Integration and orientation of new participants

After the application has been accepted, the participant embarks on orienting himself or herself on what the system is all about.[7]

This exercise is rigorous and necessary to ensure that the participant successfully integrates into the community and is thereafter able to utilize the opportunities it offers. The process also includes an introduction to the community bylaws and public policy.

In addition, the agency facilitates and moderates online communities, through which new and existing participants are able to share their experiences, help each other through any difficulties, and point out opportunities that may not be obvious even after going through the orientation process.[8]

Promoting social cohesion and arbitration

The Human Relations Agency promotes social cohesion and amicable dispute resolution.[9]) The agency facilitates online programs that participants can use to cultivate cohesion and social cooperation. When disputes occur, participants look to the Human Relations Agency to coordinate arbitration.

Coordinated Responsibilities

Some of the Human Relations Agency’s roles require the input of other agencies, due to their specific capabilities and the scope of such roles. The coordination between the Human Relations Agency and other agencies can be described along three dimensions:

  • Horizontal (with agencies in the Village Bureau)
  • Vertical (with agencies in the Participant Support Vertical)
  • Diagonal (with other agencies outside the bureau and vertical)

Horizontal coordination

The Human Relations Agency liaises with the Stewardship Agency to enable the Human Relations Agency to set the dials properly to attract those professions that the community economy needs. The Stewardship Agency provides the Human Relations Agency with the information needed to do this.

The Human Relations Agency also liaises with the Asset Leasing Agency so that the Human Relations Agency is aware of the equipment and other assets available for rent by individual participant businesses and is therefore able to adjust the entry process mechanisms appropriately.

Vertical coordination

Within the Participant Vertical, the Human Relations Agency helps coordinate security with the Legal Agency (agency #14).[10])

The Human Relations Agency provides the sort of community coordination needed to provide sufficient security, while the Legal Agency administers the services offered by a designated security-services contractor.

The security company’s work is complemented by active participation in security matters by participants, facilitated by the Human Relations Agency.

The Human Relations Agency liaises with the Data Agency (agency #16), which collects, processes, and stores data. The Human Relations Agency uses the processed information to enable it to tune the automated system so that it can better serve participants.

For instance, the processed information can show a correlation of factors that make one individual a better candidate than another to join the system.

The Human Relations Agency also liaises with the Life Planning Agency (agency #5) so it can better help integrate participants by recommending education and other help needed to develop their human capacity.

The Human Relations Agency therefore provides participants with the necessary capacity to harness the potential of the life-planning process.[11]

The Human Relations Agency also liaises with the Communication Agency (agency #10) so it can provide information on integration and orientation on the intranet in a way that is easy to access and understand for participants

Diagonal coordination

The Human Relations Agency liaises with the Intellectual Property Agency (agency #13) so that its recruitment and selection process can pay special attention to participants who could develop IP.

The Human Relations Agency also works with the Quality, Health, Safety, and Environment (QHSE) Agency (agency #18) to ensure that entry into the community does not in any way impact QHSE policies. For instance, overcrowding could have a negative effect on the community’s quest to conserve the environment and still provide economic and social opportunities for all participants.

During the entry process, the Human Relations Agency liaises with the Underwriting Agency (agency #21) so that it can understand the risks associated with letting in a particular individual.

Conclusion

The Human Relations Agency marks the first step in the path to becoming a full-fledged NewVistas community participant.

A significant part of its mandate is therefore devoted to managing the entry process, including getting the right people in and ensuring that they are well equipped to be successful in the community.

The agency’s success is pegged on its coordination with other agencies whose expertise and capacity it needs to adequately support participants.

Alongside other agencies in the Village Bureau, the Human Relations Agency gives participants the platform on which they can integrate into the community, in addition to easing their access to other community agencies and services.  

  1. The orientation process aims to show the participant that they are an integral part of the community’s quest to achieve its goals. The orientation process also shows the participant what they need to do to put in an acceptable performance that will help in this. For the community, orientation will help integration, and needs to be done properly, as it is the first real impression that the participant will have of the community. It will shape his attitudes towards the community thereafter (Wallace, K. “Creating an Effective New Employee Orientation Program.” Library Leadership & Management 23.4 (2009): 169-178).
  2. The Human Relations Agency acts as the community’s gatekeeper regarding integrity and ethical conduct. This is done by most importantly; putting ethics and integrity on the agenda, in such a way that it preoccupies any dealing participants have with each other, socially or in a business setting (Wagewatch. Human Resources: The Gatekeeper for Company Ethics).
  3. Modern organizations have embraced eHRM as a way through which they can improve the efficiency of human resource management, while deriving better outcomes. One of the advantages of such systems is their ability to have employees take charge of their details, from simple things such as updating their details online, to self-appraisal that gives organizations a basis for understanding their human capital. The Human Relations Agency will tap into this potential by having automated application and vetting processes (Marler, J. and S. Fisher. “An evidence-based review of e-HRM and strategic human resource management.” Human Resource Management Review 23 (2013): 18-36).
  4. Modern organizations are better placed to understand the link between performance, job satisfaction and wellbeing. In the community, the Human Relations Agency will devise systems which enable participants look after their social and career needs, as a way of boosting performance and satisfaction with the community system (Kowalski, T. and W. Loretto. “Well-being and HRM in the changing workplace.” The International Journal of Human Resource Management 16 (2017): 2229-2255).
  5. Effective recruitment strategies and systems, as those that the Human Relations Agency will definitely need, have specific attributes that enhance their qualities. They are easy to use for candidates, enhancing their experience. They are also, partly as a result, able to get more information form the candidate, enabling the agency’s systems to make data-driven resolutions on candidates’ suitability (Simplicant. 10 Qualities Of A Good Recruiting System. 2019).
  6. The use of algorithms in hiring and other aspects of human resource management is ever more common in modern organizations. Systems that use algorithms are favored for their ability to process information intelligently, efficiently, and personalizing it to achieve the best results (Wallden, E. and N. Laporte. “Hiring Through Algorithms.” Lund University (2017): 1-45).
  7. Automated onboarding and orientation is a cheaper, faster and more efficient approach to the task. It also has improved outcomes for the participant, as the process is short, and they are able to navigate through the system easily (Hink, B. Perks of Automating Employee Onboarding).
  8. Online communities are resourceful, since participants are able to share their experiences and advice others on how to handle situations. As research has shown however, they can also be the source of misinformation. To avoid this, the Human Relations Agency will facilitate and moderate discourse in such communities to improve the quality of their output (Groenewegen, P. and C. Moser. “Online Communities: Challenges and Opportunities for Social Network Research.”  Research in the Sociology of Organizations (2014): 459-473).
  9. Dispute resolution aims to come up with solutions that everyone can live with. The Human Relations Agency will employ community bylaws, existing laws as applicable, to resolve disputes. However, the agency must also consider the particular characteristics of a case, and ensure that the goal is not to prove who is in the wrong, but to enable amicable resolution to conflicts, and avoiding them where necessary (Berkeley-VCA. Resolving Conflict Situations. Berkeley: University of California-Berkeley, 2019.
  10. Community-driven security is likelier to achieve more in terms of less crime incidence, and a security set-up that most members of the community are comfortable with. The community will employ a similar model, where the village presidents, in coordination with the Legal Agency engage the security providers to have a security service that is responsive to particular community needs (Rosenbaum, D. The Challenge of Community Policing. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 1994.
  11. During their stay in the community, participants will need to update their skills or further their education. This will enable them to complete more favorably in the market. It will also enhance their motivation, making them more productive and satisfied with life in the community. The Human Relations and Life Planning Agencies appreciate this, and therefore coordinate to provide participants with education opportunities (Chaudhary, N. and P. Bhaskar. “Training and Development and Job Satisfaction in Education Sector.” Journal of Resources Management and Development 16 (2016): 42-46.