myHR: News from Penn's Division of Human Resources

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myHR: January 9, 2019

Take Time to Update Your Beneficiaries

man and older man filling out form

A life event such as a marriage, divorce, remarriage, or birth of a child mean major changes in your household. These changes mean it’s time for you to update your Penn retirement plan and life insurance beneficiary designations.

Properly designating beneficiaries give you the peace of mind that the people, organizations, and causes you care about most will receive the money you want them to have with minimal difficulty.  

If you don’t designate beneficiaries, the money you intend to leave to your loved ones could instead go to your estate and be distributed as part of probate proceedings, and not necessarily as you would like.

Review Your Designations Now

It takes just a few minutes to make sure that your retirement plan and life insurance beneficiary designations are up to date. The “Life Insurance and Retirement Plan Beneficiary Checklist” provides user-friendly instructions for getting started.

Remember that for your retirement plan accounts you must make beneficiary designations for each of the three plans – Basic, Matching and Supplemental. Also, designations for your retirement plans and life insurance do not apply to each other.

Making beneficiary updates is particularly important if you have experienced a major life event in your family in the last year. Qualifying events include the birth or adoption of a child, marriage or domestic partnership, divorce or separation, death of a dependent, and change in your dependent’s eligibility for benefits. Keep in mind that the IRS limits the types of changes you can make for such events. For detailed information, refer to the Guide to Managing Life Events.

Need More Information?

For additional information about updating beneficiaries for your retirement plans, visit the Designating Your Beneficiaries web page. For questions about life insurance, contact the Penn Benefits Center at 1-888-PENNBEN (1-888-736-6236), Monday through Friday, 8am to 6pm EST, and Saturday 8am to 5pm EST.

You can also receive free financial and legal counseling through Penn’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP). EAP is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 866-799-2329.

Earn Your Be in the Know Bonus in 2019

people running on treadmills

Whether you’re new to this year’s Be in the Know wellness campaign or you’ve already begun and want to stay on track to earn your incentives, here are a few reminders to make the New Year healthier.

Steps 1 and 2: Core Actions

If you missed Step 1, the fall biometric screenings, you can still get started. New on-campus screenings have been scheduled for January through March 2019, so register today! Alternatively, you can send in results from your health care provider using the Be in the Know Biometric Screening Consent Form.

Be sure to complete Step 2, StayWell’s online health assessment. This confidential online questionnaire is administered through Penn's wellness portal partner, StayWell Health Management.

Steps 1 and 2 are Be in the Know Core Actions necessary to earn your first 100 points and $100 incentive.

Step 3: Bonus Actions

Are you ready for Step 3: Bonus Actions? These are health-related activities that can earn you additional points and up to $200* in Bonus Action incentives. There are four categories covering different areas of your well-being:

Preventative Health: Give yourself credit for proactive wellness activities such as dental screenings, annual eye exams, and other important screenings from your health care provider.

Wellness Activities: On-campus programs such as wellness walks, mindfulness courses, and financial wellness events help you learn more and earn more.

Physical Activity: Earn points for your workout routine, bike commute, or community events such as 5K walks, bike races, or marathons.

StayWell Online Programs: Penn’s wellness partner, StayWell, offers online activities like the Million Steps Challenge, Daily Dash, Financial Well-being Learning Series, digital workshops, and telephonic health coaching including a tobacco cessation option with free NRT.

A list of qualifying Bonus Actions is available online.

Complete as many Bonus Actions as you like to rack up points. If you earn 350 total campaign points or more, you will become a Be in the Know VIP! All confirmed VIPs will earn a special gift on top of the maximum incentives after the 2018-2019 campaign year ends.

For campaign details, including participation and submission due dates, visit the Be in the Know website.

Navigating the College Preparation Process

Parents and teens sitting on a park bridge

Preparing for college can be an exciting and stressful journey for parents and students.

With so many choices and the rising costs of higher education, it’s important for families to have the right admissions and financial aid information. That’s why Penn is offering several workshops in the New Year to connect benefits-eligible faculty and staff with the experts and resources essential to a brighter future for their college-age dependents.

These free workshops will fill up quickly, so register for the programs of your choice now by clicking on the links below.

Insights into the College Admissions Process
January 23, 12pm – 1pm
Houston Hall, 3417 Spruce Street, Golkin Room

What is holistic admissions? Early Decision? Restricted Early Action? Early Action? Regular decision? Join the Penn Undergraduate Admissions staff for an in-depth discussion about the parts of a college application, admissions plans and supporting your student during the whole process.

Navigating the Curricular Waters
February 13, 12pm – 1pm
Houston Hall, 3417 Spruce Street, Golkin Room

Join Penn's Undergraduate Admissions staff to discuss the role of the high school transcript and course selection in the holistic admissions review. This may be particularly timely for parents of high school freshmen, sophomores and juniors who are choosing courses for upcoming terms in 2019.

Financial Planning for College Workshop
March 4, 12pm – 1pm
The Arch, 3601 Locust Walk, Room 108

This workshop provides insight and guidance for the major financial decisions involved in saving for college. Albert Corrato, Jr., Certified Financial Planner Professional from Creative Financial Group, MassMutual, will lead this financial wellness learning opportunity.

Navigating the Tuition Benefit and Financial Aid for Your College Age Dependents
March 25
12:30pm – 1:30pm
Learning and Education, 3624 Market Street, Suite 1A South

Join staff from Penn’s Student Financial Services (SFS) and Human Resources Tuition Benefits Offices to learn more about the tuition benefit program for dependents and the financial aid process. The session will help to clarify how the tuition benefit interacts with financial aid packages. It will also offer tips for reading and comparing financial aid package components and communicating with financial aid offices.

Making the Most of the Campus Visit
April 29, 12:30pm – 1:30pm
Learning and Education, 3624 Market Street, Suite 1A South

Professionals from Penn’s undergraduate admissions office will discuss the importance of the campus visit. The session will cover helpful information to assist you and your child in planning and making the most of their trips to different campuses.

For more upcoming workshops and other work-life benefits information, visit the Wellness & Work-life pages.

Don't Let Conflicts Get In the Way of Success

illustration of a pile of comment bubbles

Just the idea of conflict can make people uncomfortable even though it’s a natural part of life. Workplace disagreements and tensions have the potential to get in the way of your team’s success, but with the right approach, conflicts don’t have to create chaos. In fact, they can lead to stronger relationships and innovation.

Learn how to deal with internal struggles at the Taking Control of Conflict workshop on February 19 from 9am to 12pm.

This lively session helps you avoid unnecessary clashes and find common ground between different perspectives. You’ll explore ways to uncover the roots of disagreement before it becomes a problem. The workshop will also cover resolution strategies that will move you and your team past conflict pitfalls toward productivity and positive results.

Register today for Taking Control of Conflict . Your department will be charged a $75 fee for this course.

For more professional development opportunities, visit the Learn & Grow section of

Penn Pro Tips Prize Winner

illustration of light bulbs, middle bulb is shiningCongratulations to the first Penn Pro Tips drawing winner, Shannon Connelly in Wharton MBA Admissions & Financial Aid. Her email management techniques were published in the October 17, 2018 issue of myHR. Since her name was randomly selected from all the pro tip submissions we received over the fall 2018 term, she’ll receive a productivity gift pack of office supplies to help the work day go smoothly.

Send Us Your Tips
To enter the next prize drawing and share your productivity ideas with your colleagues, please send your Penn Pro Tip to Describe your tip in up to 200 words. Maybe it’s an app that improves your productivity, a habit that strengthens your relationships, a tool you can always rely on, or a concept that helps you enjoy work and life.

Everyone who sends in a tip between now and March 31, 2019 will be entered in a prize drawing for a productivity pack.

Selected tips will be published along with the names of the tipsters in upcoming issues of myHR. Your wisdom and knowledge are greatly appreciated.

Healthy Meals: Winter Greens and Citrus Salad

Winter Greens and Citrus Salad on a plate

Brighten up a your day with colorful oranges and tangy mixed greens.

Find the recipe here.

Click here to send us your healthy recipes and tips.


Did You Know? You Can Request a Professional Development Course on Knowledge Link

If you missed a professional development course or brown bag session and you would like HR Learning and Education to consider adding another session to the schedule, you may submit your suggestion online through Knowledge Link. Instructions are available online at