The Washington Football Team hired Jason Wright as team president in August with one clear goal in mind: be a driving force -- alongside head coach Ron Rivera -- to help turn around the culture in Ashburn.
In a recent interview with Ben Fischer of the Sports Business Journal, Wright detailed two separate areas where Washington plans to make additional hires in order to help change the workplace environment.
When asked where he felt the organization was understaffed, his first answer was telling.
"Human resources," Wright said. "That is where we are investing heavily and it’s going to be a big boon to this organization as people feel that they have the trusted infrastructure underneath them so they can raise their voice and they can affect change."
Wright's plan to add staffers to the HR department comes at a time when that specific branch of the organization (or lack thereof) has been heavily scrutinized.
Over the past seven weeks, the Washington Post has published two separate pieces that detailed the disturbing workplace culture in Washington.
The first, published in mid-July, alleged that 15 former female employees and two reporters had been victims of sexual misconduct by multiple former team executives, including high-profile assistants Alex Santos and Richard Mann II, as well as longtime team radio voice Larry Michael. None remain with the team anymore.
The second, which was released at the end of August, detailed more sexual misconduct allegations, this time specifically directed at Washington owner Dan Snyder. Shortly after the story was released, Snyder released a statement calling the piece a "hit job."
When all of the incidents allegedly occurred in Washington, the team only had one full-time staffer in the human resources department. The Post reported that multiple former employees attempted to report incidents to the team, but the allegations were not taken seriously.
Wright plans to hire a senior vice president of HR, as well as two entirely new divisions, one focusing on goal setting throughout the organization, with the other designed to handle any employee complaints and concerns.
"You definitely need a strategic leader, someone not just thinking about the blocking and tackling, but the strategy for how you develop people in your organization," Wright said. "That’s what this senior vice president of HR will do. I’m super excited about moving through our interview process, which I actually started before I technically started, because it was so obvious that’s what we needed."
Additionally, the new team president plans to hire a senior director of communications as well.
The timeline of these new hires is still uncertain, as Wright and the team still await the results from an investigation of the workplace culture. The NFL recently took over the investigation from the Washington Football Team last week.
However, Wright is eager to move forward with the hiring process once the investigation concludes.
"I’ll know a lot more when we have the independent investigation," Wright said. "The challenge is, I feel between a rock and a hard place — I have the weight of the article that hit everybody very strongly, and pulled on everyone’s emotions, but without the independent investigation to help me sort what’s what, so I can move swiftly. I’m so eager for the investigation to move forward."