Earlier this January, the world of the NFL was completely rocked by the collapse of Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin on the field during a cardiac arrest that stopped the game cold in a historically unprecedented event. Damar Hamlin spent more than a week in the hospital as physicians attempted to untangle the cause and effect of the cardiac arrest in the 24-year-old safety. He was then discharged with the full confidence of his doctors to continue rehabilitation at home according to a statement released by the Bills. While the freak occurrence has sparked an outpouring of emotional and financial support for Damar Hamlin and his charitable foundation respectively, it has also sparked a larger conversation amongst players, commentators, and fans alike regarding how the NFL cares for their best and boldest when it comes to their quality of care and investment in their longevity.
In team sports such as football, where the players play under the direction or control of a coach and/or manager, they are considered employees of the parent organization—in this case the NFL. It’s difficult to think of sports franchises as having a corporate structure, but in the same way the practices, policies, and procedures of a corporation can have an effect on the employees at the bottom of the chain of command, the way the NFL chooses how to prioritize the health and well-being of their players obviously has a ripple effect throughout the franchise. When talking about corporate culture, leadership is always advised to prioritize the health and happiness of their employees over profit, and players in the NFL should be no exception.
Damar Hamlin was originally hospitalized during a game in Cincinatti against the Bengals when his heart stopped following a tackle on January 2. While no cause of Hamlin’s cardiac arrest and collapse has been publicly disclosed, the Bills’ Twitter account reported that he underwent a “comprehensive medical evaluation, as well as a series of cardiac, neurological, and vascular testing.” His recovery from this incident was accredited to the swift response of medical personnel who rushed the field after Hamlin went down—Hamlin was revived twice before even being taken off the field—actions which not only saved his life, but his long-term neurological function. The incident shook both players and fans alike as they struggled to wrap their minds around how a 24-year-old, second-year NFL player could suffer such a traumatic medical event.
The game was eventually cancelled outright by the NFL, garnering raised eyebrows and visions of a future pivot of values within the league that prioritizes players’ health and safety over the fan experience of the sport. It’s true that pro-athletes have suffered devastating injuries on the field before, but the overall reaction from the teams, the staff, fans, and the NFL have marked this event as significant in the ongoing discourse surrounding care of pro-athletes. While Hamlin may have received thoughts and prayers from fellow players and fans, it still left open the question of how Hamlin would be able to access financial support for his medical needs in the event he would not be able to play another game in the NFL. Due to being only two years into his contract, Hamlin would not have been able to access his pension. However, after an appeal to the NFL and NFLPA by the Bills organization on his behalf, in an unprecedented move, it has been announced that Damar Hamlin’s contract has been adjusted so that he can have access to the $3.64 million set out in his four-year contract with the Bills—a decision that could be a harbinger of positive changes on the horizon when it comes to the terms of future pro-athletes’ contracts.
What happened to Damar Hamlin has sparked a comprehensive conversation regarding the terms of players’ contracts and how the NFL chooses to enforce those contracts. Choosing to pay Damar Hamlin in full for a four-year contract in his second year of tenure with the Bills to mitigate the financial impact of what he survived on the football field is an undeniable prioritization of his well-being. Should the NFL continue to make similar decisions with other players who are injured during games going forward, it would be a marked improvement in the corporate culture of the organization.
Following the release of a report by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform, more is known than ever about Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder and the role he played in perpetuating a toxic work culture within the franchise. The 97-page report has outlined for the public how Snyder “permitted and participated” in the Commanders’ toxic culture, including the obstruction and obfuscation of a congressional inquiry through evasion, witness intimidation, and remaining obtuse when questioned by the committee.
In addition to highlighting Snyder’s level of participation in disrupting the congressional inquiry regarding the toxic work culture, the report also indicated that the NFL, describing them as also sharing in the blame when it came to the subversion of the congressional inquiry. The chairperson of the committee, Rep. Carolyn Maloney told ESPN, “We saw efforts that we have never seen before, at least I haven’t. The NFL knew about it, and they took know responsibility.” Maloney’s went on to characterize the NFL’s actions as performative, describing a “coordinated effort to hide what they acknowledged.” Maloney is referring of course to the NFL’s effort bury an investigation into the toxic work culture of the Commanders, led by attorney Beth Wilkinson.
According to the committee’s congressional report, Wilkinson’s investigation found multiple allegations of harassment and abuse against other teams, and that the NFL prioritized the interests of league owners over those of their own employees, with multiple reports of failure to protect employees who could not report misconduct without fear of retaliation. The report stated, “Rather than seek accountability, the NFL aligned its legal interests with Mr. Snyder’s, failed to curtail his abusive tactics, and buried the investigation’s findings.”
Despite these findings of a toxic work culture against the organization and Dan Snyder, the NFL has declared their commitment to courses of action that directly contradict the findings of the report, with NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy releasing a statement that said the NFL is “committed to ensuring that all employees of the NFL and the 32 clubs work in a professional and supportive environment that is free from discrimination, harassment, and other forms of illegal or unprofessional conduct.”
Following the release of the congressional report, head coach Ron Rivera told DC News Now that he has continued to encourage his players to “focus on what’s in front of them, not the distractions,” as they move forward.
To say that Elon Musk has had a turbulent fourth quarter in 2022 would be an understatement as he continues to face new challenges and find innovative ways to remain divisive in his capacity as Twitter’s new chief executive officer. Since purchasing the company for a record $44 billion in 2022, the landscape of the platform has been nothing short of chaotic as Musk declared war on Apple for gouging their advertising campaigns and allegedly continues to champion free speech as the new CEO. The public’s reaction to these events have ranged from the vindicated to the horrified, but in all the pageantry of the possible flame-out, there are human beings who are being forgotten in the chaos—what remains of Twitter’s staff.
Back in October, Musk’s deal to purchase the platform finally went through after months of back and forth in a “will he, won’t he” corporate dance. Once he became the CEO of Twitter, however, he immediately fired half of the staff, as well as CEO Parag Agrawal and CFO Ned Segal, and announced that that he would be championing free speech on the platform in a way that he alleged had not previously been done before.
It wasn’t long before Twitter engineers began coming forward about some of the changes Musk was making. One engineer, Eric Frohnhoefer, got into a public argument with Musk on Twitter, which culminated in Musk apparently firing him through a tweet—and it did not stop there. Musk went on to fire as many as 20 other engineers who had spoken out against his actions either publicly or on the platform’s internal Slack channels. To the remaining staff, Musk sent a company-wide email with vague implications that operations were about to get more difficult, and demands employees commit to working “long hours at high intensity,” or face termination.
Since purchasing the platform, Elon Musk continues to rot the corporate culture of Twitter from within. It’s horrific enough to have public feuds with employees and increasing demands on a reduced staff, but some of the latest reports regarding work conditions at Twitter are nothing short of disturbing. The BBC reported just yesterday they had received photos of Twitter office space that had been converted into actual bedrooms. The photo shared by the BBC showed a double bed and a dresser along with a pair of slippers. There was also a photo of couches at Twitter HQ being used as beds.
Scott Wiener, a California state senator commented to the BBC, “It’s clear that he doesn’t really care about people. He doesn’t care about the people who work for him.” The photos have prompted an investigation by the San Fransisco Department of Building Inspection into whether or not violations are being made. An official from the department told CBS News, “We need to make sure the building is being used as intended.”
As the Black Lives Matter movement continues throughout the globe, corporate diversity is once again on the minds of leadership in the United States. Leadership has begun developing strategies to improve diversity in their structure. Regardless of the motivations behind resisting this change, leadership might not understand that corporate diversity is a measure that not only elevates BIPOC professionals, but will improve the quality of life within the corporation.
When leadership is singular in representation, it cannot
possibly consider all the needs of everyone in the organization. Leadership
that is composed entirely of White executives will have a functional blindness
or bias towards the needs of non-White employees. Not only will they leave
their non-White employees feeling undervalued, but corporations can be selling
themselves short on opportunity to improve business from within, and ultimately
One of the most obvious benefits to having corporate
diversity—both at the executive level and below—is that diversity breeds
innovation and creativity. When a corporation continually relies on the same
thinktank of people who all come from similar backgrounds and have similar
experiences, you will eventually begin to see a patter in the same 15 ideas or
solutions generated by that thinktank. Workforces with diverse backgrounds see
a more diverse array of ideas, innovations, and solutions to challenges faced
in the workplace and in the market.
The more corporate diversity you have, the more likely your
team will generate ideas and solutions that will better serve your customer
base. Different skills and different histories of experience will lead to a
more unique brainstorm—from the conference room to the loading dock. According
to a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review, businesses with corporate
diversity are able to find solutions to problems faster than teams of employees
from similar backgrounds. The speed attributed to corporate diversity is due in
part to the fact that these corporations foster an environment that promotes a
free exchange of ideas, where everyone has a place at the table and their voice
is heard. That is the sort of corporate culture all businesses should be
Diversity is more than a two-pronged approach, but it is important that you have diversity from the top down, and that every person feel as though they can safely bring ideas, concerns, or solutions to the table. By encouraging this diversity, you make sure every person on your team feels as though their voice is being heard. When employees feel heard and valued, the corporate culture of the entire business significantly improves. We know the effects of corporate culture move in a cycle. Employees are either positively or negatively impacted by engagement and validation from leadership, which in turn effects their own engagement, which directly impacts their level of output. As corporate culture improves, output increases. The elevation of those diverse voices has the capacity to save your corporation money in billable hours, workplace lawsuits, and engagement.
Corporate culture audit
At Lauth Investigations International, we pride ourselves on
using our intelligence services to connect business leadership with the
solutions they need to improve their company from within. If you suspect your
business is suffering due to a lack of diversity, call Lauth Investigations
International today for a free quote on our corporate culture audit.
Just after lunch last Wednesday, violence erupted in
Milwaukee, WI at the famous Molson Coors factory, when an employee walked in with
a loaded firearm and began shooting, leaving 5 victims and the shooter
deceased. The violence is another in a string of shootings in the workplace that
has corporate leadership wondering what their role is in limiting these acts of
The victims in the Milwaukee Molson Coors shooting were identified as Jesus Valle Jr., 33; Gennady Levshetz, 61; Trevor Wetselaar, 33; Dana Walk, 57; and Dale Hudson, 60. The shooter, electrician Anthony N. Ferrill, 51, is deceased as well. Those victims, Ferrill’s coworkers, are remembered by the dozens of friends and family they left behind, as well as a community rocked by violence. Molson Coors chief executive Gavin Hattersley said in a news conference, “They were husbands, they were fathers, and they were friends. They were a part of the fabric of our company and our community, and we will miss them terribly.”
While many acts of violence in the workplace are perpetrated
by former employees, Anthony Ferrill was a current employee of Molson Coors.
Ferrill worked in the building’s utilities department. While authorities have
not established a clear motive for the shooting, according to the
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Ferrill had a history of dispute with his coworkers
that many have speculated finally came to a head in the events leading up to last
week’s shooting. The dispute may have had racial overtones, with Ferrill
accusing other employees of discriminating against him in the workplace. He had
suspicions that other employees were trespassing at his home, bugging his
electronic devices, and disturbing his property. With the exception of one man,
Ferrill had previous confrontations with all the victims, yet police have
declined to comment on how the shooting occurred.
When shocking incidents of violence like this occur in the workplace,
it’s not uncommon to hear from leadership in the organization that they are ‘shocked,’
or ‘astonished’ at the events that have taken place, or that the violence was
perpetrated by a member of their organization. The reality is that active
shooter events and other forms of violence in the workplace can usually be
anticipated and prevented if leadership is not asleep at the wheel.
Most workplace crises, from violence to theft, can be traced
back to faulty internal operations. That’s why so many corporations are seeking
to have their daily operations evaluated by independent investigators and risk
assessment firms. These investigators come into your business and begin examining
hiring processes, onboarding materials, employee engagement, and the turnover
rate in an attempt to identify the problems that cause frustration within the organization.
In the unfortunate example of Molsen Coors, there was obviously room for more
supervision with regards to intra-employee conflict. If the alleged
intra-employee conflict had been given more attention, it might not have ended
Corporate Culture Audit investigators can provide leadership with the insight they need to improve their daily operations. Investigators can review hiring protocol, identifying risk factors and lack of oversight. They can review security systems, both in cyberspace, and at brick-and-mortar locations to identify weaknesses that would leave the company vulnerable to attack. These are measures that could have prevented the violence that broke out at Molson Coors, and they can protect your company, too.
If your corporation or organization needs a corporate
culture audit, call Lauth Investigations International today for a free quote
on our corporate culture audit program. Our program is built to fit businesses
of any size and is customizable to fit you investigative needs. Call
317-951-1100 or visit us online at www.lauthinveststg.wpengine.com
Employers across the country have operated in a sea of gray area when it comes to confidentiality among employees regarding internal investigations. The question remained whether or not employers were able to require employees to keep internal investigations internal while they were in full swing. Prior to the new year, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) finally answered that question.
Previously, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) had
taken a position that employers could not require employees to keep ongoing
internal investigations confidential because it generally violated labor law. Section
7 of the National Labor Relations Act guarantees employees “the right to
self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain
collectively through representatives of their own choosing.” Universal
requirement of confidentiality could potentially interfere with that law.
Confidentiality in internal investigations was instead dealt with on a
case-by-case basis, with no precedent for blanket confidentiality. This topic
has been in review by the NLRB since May of 2019, but it was only recently that
the board announced that they had reversed their position.
By their very nature, internal investigations are already a big headache for many employers. Further compounding these frustrations is the ideation that no internal investigation can generate meaningful results unless the integrity of the internal investigation is maintained by all employees of the corporation or organization. This new standard of approval by the National Labor Relations Board is a categorical win for employers. The win comes down to one word—duration. In articulating their decision, the majority wrote,
“There are obvious mutual interests to be served by encouraging and allowing employees to report wrongdoing without fear of reprisal from the subject of the investigation. Among other considerations, such reporting promotes the goals of the antidiscrimination statutes by helping employers eradicate workplace discrimination and deal with it promptly and effectively when it occurs.”
This articulation is indirectly evocative of the cycle of
corporate culture, a process by which cause and effect on the parts of both
leadership and employees in pursuit of improved operations leads to a healthy
corporate culture for the entire workforce.
While there are concerns that the future of this reversal
may affect an employee’s ability to organize, the projection of this reversal
is very good news for internal investigations. In any investigation, the
control of information is critical to finding solutions to the corporate
crisis, allowing investigators to use tried-and-true methodology to get to the
root of the problem. With the NLRB finally taking a position that allows
employers to require confidentiality, the integrity of those internal
investigations can now be maintained from the onset, leading to clearer
solutions for the pervasive issues that malign corporations and organizations.