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August 22, 2017 Amelia Wilcox

How to Start a Employee Assistance Program With No Budget

Does your company culture need a boost that only a employee assistance program could give, but there’s just no budget? Don’t worry—starting a employee assistance program with no budget is completely possible.

We had the opportunity to sit down with Diana Hasselfeld of Varian Medical Systems. As the Wellness Director and Occupational Health Nurse Practitioner at Varian’s worksite clinic, her job is to help her fellow employees stay healthy and engaged at work.

Creative Employee Assistance Program Ideas: How to Start from Nothing?

Over the past 20 years, Varian Medical Systems has grown their employee assistance program little by little, and Diana Hasselfeld has been there for most of it.

As an integral part of the Environmental, Health & Safety team, Diana leads her company’s volunteer employee Wellness Committee. In this interview, Diana covers all of the ins and outs of Varian’s exceptional employee assistance program, how it all started, and what they’ve learned along the way.

How a company garden can change everything

As a health-centered company, Varian Medical Systems emphasizes employee wellness at every turn. Here’s what Diana says about their humble beginnings:

“We started very, very small. There was just a group of employees that would walk at lunch time together…”

That group then would work out to a video tape in the cafeteria or on a loading dock. When that wasn’t fulfilling their needs, the company decided to start a fitness center. From there, the employee assistance program just grew.

Check out the video to find out the answers to these questions:

  • Hear how Varian Medical Systems maintains a fitness center, health fairs, nutritious food, onsite medical clinic, and massage therapy in their office.
  • Learn how Varian’s employees built a fitness center from the ground up with unallocated recycling money.
  • What unique ways has this company found to encourage employee engagement and boost morale?
  • Hear the progress of their corporate garden — how did it start and what did employees think?

How to start an employee assistance programTips for starting an employee assistance program with no budget


Varian Medical System’s company garden 


Amelia Wilcox

Amelia Wilcox is the Founder and CEO of Nivati, a leader in corporate massage and employee mental health support since 2010. Her high-growth B2B company provides employee stress management tools that arm businesses with actionable data and positive employee experiences to improve wellbeing, boost morale, and increase engagement.

Amelia has exponentially grown her company from a solo living-room service business to an international technology brand.

Recently listed as a Forty Under 40, Fast 50, Inc 5000 Twice awarded National Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year

Licenses, Certifications & Memberships
Licensed Massage Therapist since 2002
Member of American Massage Therapy Association
Served on Utah Worksite Wellness Council from 2012-2015

Attended Utah College of Massage Therapy
Educated in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology at the University of Utah

Massage Magazine (AMTA's publication)