The Washington Football Team hired a chief people officer, hoping to bolster an area, an understaffed human resources department – that led to issues in the past. It was also among team president Jason Wright’s first stated goals this summer.
Washington hired Andre Chambers for the newly created position. He’ll oversee the human resources division that, at one point, had just one person to handle 220 full-time employees. Chambers spent the past three years as the vice president of People Operations for the Oakland Athletics.
The Washington Post detailed numerous allegations of past sexual harassment issues in the organization in multiple stories this summer. Numerous employees — past and present — also told ESPN, and other outlets, that a severely understaffed HR department was a big part of the problem.
“We’ve put in a set of HR processes and policies that were not at a robust enough level before,” Wright told ESPN.
Wright said the team also has set up a whistleblower hotline for employees. He also said that every Friday he and coach Ron Rivera meet for 60 to 90 minutes to discuss the organization’s culture. And, Wright said, he also has an “ask me anything” day for team employees.
“We answer everything,” he said. “It’s about being transparent. I’ve sent more company-wide emails than I ever expected to send.”
The NFL has been independently investigating the organization; Wright said that the only time he has heard from the league is when it requests someone it wants to interview.
“I’m eager for the report,” he said. “I’m not afraid of it. Maybe it’s easy for me to say because I wasn’t here. You can’t fix what you won’t face.
“At first I was champing at the bit and tapping my fingers on the table, but the more thorough they are the better. We don’t want stuff popping up later. I want to know it all.”
Chambers represents the latest move. Before joining the A’s, Chambers spent time in various HR and talent development roles with Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Citigroup and IBM.