Here are a few frequently asked questions about Empower Work, our text service, and our volunteers.
About Empower Work
Is Empower Work really free?
Yes! Thanks to the generous support of individual donors, foundations, and volunteers. How’s that for paying it forward? Empower Work is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring everyone has an accessible advocate to navigate work challenges.
Does Empower Work provide legal advice?
No, we do not provide legal advice. If texters have legal questions, we share vetted, free legal resources or refer to nonprofit or government resources for information.
Is my conversation confidential?
Yes, conversations are confidential. We suggest using an incognito browser or disabling cookies and clearing your history after a conversation. We also recommend using a personal phone or computer.
Who are Empower Work peer counselors?
Peer counselors are all working professionals. They generously volunteer their time to support people through their trickiest challenges at work. Our peer counselors come from diverse professional backgrounds and are motivated to give back to the community. Every peer counselor undergoes a selection process and receives robust training (more than 20 hours) to prepare them for the role.
Can I call Empower Work?
No, we are a text- and web-based service.
How do you use data?
We use data in two ways. First, we use feedback from texters (for example, through post-use surveys) to adjust our service and help us create the best experience for texters and volunteers.
Second, we review aggregate contextual data--such as the time of day people contact us, and the topics they reach out to us about--to help illuminate larger workplace trends. Sometimes we do this in partnership with researchers or community partners to inform policies, practices, or approaches to building more equitable, inclusive workplaces.
All of our data is anonymous and randomized to protect the confidentiality of our texters.
Volunteering with Empower Work
What’s It like being a peer counselor?
Volunteering with Empower Work is a rewarding opportunity to flex your management, coaching, and active listening skills. Check out this blog post for the top five reasons people volunteer with us. For more information check out our volunteer page.
What’s the time commitment?
We ask that volunteers commit to at least two hours a week for six months. Beyond that, you can volunteer as much time as you have!
How Do I become a peer counselor?
Check out this page to get started. The application takes about 15 minutes to complete. If selected, we’ll schedule a 30-minute interview to ensure it’s a good fit on both sides (that it works for you and for us!). You’ll then compete 20 hours of online training covering active listening, management, workplace dynamics, crisis counseling, and more. (Don’t worry—the training will be with real humans—it’s just done online!) After training and practicing, you’ll start talking to texters with the support of Empower Work staff.
How often are trainings held?
Trainings are held on a rolling basis, so the sooner you apply the sooner you can get started! Start here.
Are peer counselors paid?
No. Peer counselors are volunteers. Empower Work is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and volunteers are critical to our work. Volunteers say they find value in being part of network of peer counselors, helping people navigate their challenges, and building their professional skills that they can invest back into their workplace.