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September 17, 2012 07:24 PM

Raven Industries Partners With Face It Together

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Working on physical appearance is important for any company.

You've probably noticed construction on Raven Industries' downtown location. And for as much work that goes into building up the outside, a company is only as good as what's on the inside.

"Peak performance for us is our commitment to team members health and well-being, intellectual growth and understanding their purpose in life," Raven Industries CEO Dan Rykhus said.

After all, these employees are responsible for designing, selling and manufacturing industrial and agricultural products.  It's a lot of hard work and Raven wants employees at their best.

Rykhus says the company prides itself in offering options like fitness centers to the hard-working men and women.  However, peak performance doesn't just measure someone's physical fitness. 

"That's half of it. The other half is helping our leaders and supervisors understand that alcoholism is a disease just like any other and that we should allow our team members time off and support and welcome them back into the work place," Rykhus said.

Not wanting to turn their backs on people struggling with addiction and everything that comes with it, company heads teamed up with Face It Together three years ago. They've been able to train and educate employees on how to deal with these issues in the workplace and create a safe environment for employees to come forward and seek help.

"Yeah, people are brighter, there's a burden that's lifted as you receive treatment and get well.  No matter what disease it is, there's a burden that's lifted and that is evident in the people that have been successful with this," Rykhus said.

To put a dollar amount on Face It Together's impact on a company, Raven spent about $80,000 on training and recovery programs.  This investment has saved the company $150,000.

"There's a lot of support in terms of reduced absenteeism, productivity for people who seek treatment and enter into a stage of recovery versus those who live with this disease on an on-going basis," Rykhus said.

But Rykhus says his employees are not just dollars and cents.

"Any of us have conditions with cancer and other major illnesses have had a dramatic impact on our families.  If you look very far you will find the same in most families related to alcoholism and drug abuse," Rykhus said.

And Rykhus knows this all too well.

"I had one brother and he struggled with alcoholism and he struggled with depression. John eventually died of that.  At the age of 37, I lost my only brother, my only sibling, for that matter.  It strikes very close to home," Rykhus said.

Rykhus says addiction isn't selective and there is no one type of employee affected by them.  While some bosses don't bring their work home, having an inside glance at these struggles has helped him bring more compassion to work. 

"Not just to honor John, that's certainly part of it that goes there, but also as a company. There's so much opportunity to help our team members, to help our team members live better lives,” Rykhus said. “It's certainly allowed me to look at this disease differently.”

There are options for employees who need a break from work to work on themselves. The company has selected insurance coverage plans for people who need to seek alcohol and drug treatment.  There is also sick leave and pay for the people who need to be gone for a while.

Above all, Rykhus wants these tools to help people know there is no shame in stepping up and asking for help.  When it comes to these struggles, as a company, he says he truly wants everyone to face it together.

"We're really trying to create an environment where people can feel more comfortable that they will have a job they can come back to, that they've got a company that realizes this is a disease. This isn't where somebody isn't trying hard," Rykhus said.

For companies like Raven, it is not enough to just build up the physical because when you are dealing with a large group of people working hard, you have to also focus on strengthening what is on the inside.

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