myHR: News from Penn's Division of Human Resources

myHR: March 12, 2020

Coronavirus Workplace Preparations

Woman under umbrella on Locust WalkAs Penn responds to the developing novel coronavirus COVID-19 situation, the University’s COVID-19 Task Force and the Division of Human Resources urges all faculty and staff to maintain awareness and follow common-sense guidelines (visit for details) to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on campus, at home, and in the community at large.

To help faculty, staff, and other employees prepare, HR has published COVID-19 workplace guidelines and related links, including this important notice:

If you feel ill, please do not report to work.

Penn staff are dedicated to their coworkers and the University’s mission, however, working on campus while you are sick is never a good practice. It can endanger community health now more than ever. The University provides paid sick time and other benefits to compensate employees who are unable to work due to illness.

Refer to Penn’s Time Off Policies and COVID-19 Sick Time and Leave Guidance chart for details.

If you are not feeling better after 24 hours, seek medical attention following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) instructions. “Call your doctor: If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider immediately.”

Penn Online Resources

Please refer to these resources for the latest information and guidance to maintain essential campus operations and protect the well-being of faculty, students, staff, and the community at large.

Penn’s dedicated Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Resources,, links to the latest announcements about the University’s prevention and mitigation actions such as the directives in the March 10 notice regarding University travel and large events.

Human Resources Information

Workplace Coronavirus Health and Safety Resources provides Human Resources related information including:

Remote Work Technology Links

Self-care is an essential part of community health.

Please contact Penn’s Health Advocate services and if you or your loved ones have questions or concerns about health care coverage. Contact Penn’s Employee Assistance Program for behavioral health needs at work or at home.

Call: 1-866-799-2329

Better Management Through Coaching

Group of people giving fist bumpIn any field, managers who coach produce better results. People who report to coaching managers tend to be more productive and happier, which improves outcomes for organizations. Research bears this out.

“The single most important managerial competency that separates highly effective managers from average ones is coaching,” says Monique Valcour, executive coach, Harvard Business Review author, and professor of management at EDHEC Business School.

Coaching managers do more than give direction; they spend time building relationships and developing their staff members talents and skills. 

How can managers improve their coaching abilities? Coaching Skills for Managers on April 7, 9am-12pm is an excellent way to start. Register now for this valuable seminar, led by Penn Senior Talent Consultant, Amma Napier. 

How can coaching increase your team’s effectiveness? Napier says, “Coaching makes for more engaged employees so there for more engaged teams. By attending to an employee’s strengths and passions, as well as providing useful feedback for improvement, a manager who coaches is helping to build the capacity of the individual and in turn their effective interaction with and productivity of the team.” 

In Coaching Skills for Managers, you can: 

• Learn the difference between coaching and other development strategies.
• Discover the key elements of successful coaching relationships.
• Understand the coaching process and how to apply each step.
• Identify common challenges to successful coaching.
• Discover effective strategies for managing challenges.
• Establish and maintain a successful coaching relationship with an employee.

Yes, coaches can be coached. Coaching Skills for Managers offers a convenient opportunity for you to discover and grow your abilities. Once you complete the class, you’ll be in a better position to support your coworkers’ professional development as well as your own. 

There is a $75 charge for this workshop. After registration on KnowledgeLink, please send your department’s 26-digit budget code to to complete enrollment. 

For more development opportunities, visit the Learn & Grow section of the Penn Human Resources website. 

2020 Performance and Staff Development Program Dates

Open and effective communication is essential when it comes to enhancing performance and achieving goals. The Performance and Staff Development Program (the annual performance appraisal program) provides staff and supervisors with a formal process to enhance communication and promote a productive work environment. 

The performance appraisal process provides benefits for both the staff member and the supervisor, such as: 

  • Providing documented feedback on job expectations, performance and accomplishments from the past year
  • Offering positive reinforcement as well as developmental feedback
  • Allowing staff members to participate in goal setting
  • Setting performance expectations and goals for the upcoming year
  • Encouraging open communication between staff and supervisors
  • Promoting discussion of professional development opportunities and the competencies required to be successful in their job
  • Ensuring that job performance and accomplishment information is recorded in each staff member’s official personnel file

Beginning March 16, 2020, staff and supervisors should use the Online Performance Appraisal System to complete self-appraisals and annual performance appraisals. Performance appraisals for all eligible regular staff should be completed and entered into the Online Performance Appraisal System by June 1. The Online Performance Appraisal System can be accessed at

You can also attend the Conducting Performance Appraisals for Supervisors seminar on March 23 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at 3624 Market Street, Suite 1A South. Please register online at KnowledgeLink

For more information on the Performance and Staff Development Program, contact your school or center Human Resources professional or the Division of Human Resources at (215) 898-6093. 

Change to Tuition Benefit for Faculty and Staff 

A group of graduates wearing mortar boardsPenn is supportive of faculty and staff in their academic pursuits and strives to make improvements to the Tuition Benefit program to best serve their development needs. The University recently approved an amendment to the Tuition Assistance for Faculty and Staff policy, changing the timeframe in which newly-hired faculty and staff can begin using the tuition benefit.

Effective July 2, 2020, Penn will institute a six-month waiting period for newly-hired faculty and staff to use the tuition benefit for themselves. Rather than becoming eligible for the benefit immediately upon hire, new faculty and staff will qualify for tuition assistance six months after their start dates.  

This policy update is intended to give faculty and staff a better balance of work and academic pursuits, as well as adequate time to focus on their new position, get acclimated to their role, and to complete their introductory period. It also brings Penn’s tuition assistance for faculty and staff in greater alignment with peer institutions’ tuition benefit programs, and with the University’s tuition benefit plans for dependents and spouses.  

Under the revised policy, the end date of the waiting period is the staff member’s tuition eligibility date. The tuition eligibility date determines the term for which the staff member can begin requesting tuition benefits. Keep in mind that if the tuition eligibility date comes after the first day of classes for a term, you cannot receive tuition benefits until the start of the following term.  
For examples of how the waiting period will work, see the chart below: 
New Hire Start Date   Tuition Eligibility Date  1st Day of Classes of the Term Term to Apply Benefit 
July 2, 2020 January 2, 2021 January 13, 2021  Spring 2021
December 1, 2020 June 1, 2021 Summer I- May 24, 2021
Summer II-July 1, 2021 
Summer II 2021
 February 1, 2021 August 1, 2021 August 31, 2021  Fall 2021

If you have questions about the policy, please call the Penn Employee Solution Center at 215-898-7372 or email

Did You Know? HR Program Updates Are Available Online

As we monitor the latest COVID-19 prevention recommendations, Division of Human Resources professional development, wellness, and work-life event and class schedules are subject to change quickly. Please check listings for the latest updates. If you have registered for a program, you should receive an email about any schedule changes or cancellations.



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