myHR: News from Penn's Division of Human Resources

myHR: April 30, 2020

Essential Staff at the Heart of Campus 

Robert Indiana LOVE statue near College Green

Ladia Little, University Laboratory Animal Resources (ULAR), Cassandra Adams, Student Health Service, Paul Forchielli, Residential Services have very different jobs, but their roles are all essential. Thanks to dedicated faculty and staff like them, Penn remains open through limited onsite operations. These staff members are on the frontlines of University service. Each professional takes a different approach to dealing with “the new normal” while striving to maintain the high standard of service they provided before the new coronavirus changed many aspects of their work.

To highlight the valuable contributions of Penn’s essential staff, Human Resources is publishing the Essential Staff Series. Adams, Forchielli, Little, and the other staff who will also be featured in the series represent hundreds of life-sustaining Penn people. They support the University and each other during the COVID-19 pandemic by showing up and performing their best.

Driven by necessity and their commitment to Penn’s mission, these staff members remain mindful of safety as they do their part. In their critical roles, they make it possible for students to stay healthy, faculty to stay engaged with their students, and researchers to stay focused on science at this crucial time. They also support the efforts of remote colleagues.

If you know an essential Penn community member like Cassandra Adams, Paul Forchielli, or Ladia Little, please thank them—from a distance—for keeping the heart of Penn alive.

Look for additional profiles in future editions of myHR as Penn continues limited operations and prepares to return to full operations when public health and safety allow.

For COVID-19 related workplace information, visit the Human Resources Coronavirus Health and Safety webpages.

Professional Development Wherever You Work

Happy man waving at laptop

While HR Talent Development (formerly Learning and Education) has had to cancel many of our in-person development sessions this spring, we continue to offer many other professional development resources to you, as well as new opportunities to provide you with content, regardless of your location.

Virtual Brown Bag Sessions and Workshops
HR Talent Development will be conducting their regularly scheduled programs virtually. The program schedule can be found at and in KnowledgeLink. Attendance is open to an unlimited number of University community members. These programs provide a real-time development opportunity for staff at a time when connection and interaction is in high demand.

Yammer Talent Development Group
Yammer is Microsoft’s social networking platform for internal organizational use. Think of it like LinkedIn or Facebook, but only for you and your Penn coworkers. HR Talent Development has created a public group within Yammer that all Penn staff are welcome to join. Soon, we will share supplementary files, media, and quick learning opportunities through this platform. If you would like to join, log into with your Penn email and locate the HR Talent Development group, or follow this link:

LinkedIn Learning
The LinkedIn Learning course library is free to all Penn staff, faculty, and students. It contains a vast array of training videos on topics such as technology, design, professionalism, management, leadership, and even photography and music lessons. These courses are self-guided and easy to navigate, so you can learn as much or as little about a topic as you see fit. For staff members interested in enhancing their success as a remote worker, we suggest this Remote Work Learning Path.

Penn’s LinkedIn Learning can be accessed directly at You can also search for LinkedIn Learning courses in Penn’s KnowledgeLink Learning Management System and assign them to yourself or your direct reports.

Request Training
KnowledgeLink allows you to request a course that currently does not have an upcoming scheduled session. The more requests we get for a given course, the greater the chances that we will offer a session of that course.
Watch the Requesting a Course Offering Through Knowledge Link video for submission instructions.

Online Suggestion Box
If there is a course topic you are interested in that is not currently in the KnowledgeLink, or if you have any recommendations for how Talent Development can best address your developmental needs, please visit our new online suggestion box to share your thoughts. Click here to access the suggestion box or enter the URL below into your web browser. (You may need to log in to your Office 365 account to access it):

If you have any other questions or concerns for the HR Talent Development team, please feel free to reach out via email,

Benefits Open Enrollment Deadline Extended   

Open Enrollment to-do note

If you need to enroll in a Penn benefits plan or make changes to your current elections, we have good news about the length of the enrollment period. Due to Penn’s limited campus operations, Benefits Open Enrollment has been extended until May 15. That means, faculty and staff will now have an additional two weeks to enroll or review and make changes to their benefits elections for the 2020-2021 plan year.

There are several benefits changes that will affect all participants for the upcoming plan year. For full details about this year’s Open Enrollment and benefits changes, visit There, you can access the Benefits 2020-2021 Open Enrollment Guide, 2020-2021 rates, plan summaries, and more. You can also watch the What’s Changing video (Text PENN864 to 61759 to view on your smartphone) for more information.

To enroll or update your elections, visit and log in using your PennKey and password. You can access step-by-step instructions for enrolling in Workday using the Self Service: Open Enrollment Elections tip sheet and the Self Service: Open Enrollment video.

If you prefer to enroll by phone, please call the Benefits Solution Center at 1-866-799-2329, Monday-Friday between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m.

It’s important that you review your benefit choices each year. If you are satisfied with your selections, you do not need to make a change, and will receive the same coverage you had last year. After May 15 you will only be able to make a change if you experience a qualifying life event.

For more information, please call the Benefits Solution Center at 1-866-799-2329 or contact Human Resources at

Healthy Meals: African Heritage Spicy Chickpeas

african chickpeas

Looking for a new way to serve nutritious chickpeas? Try this vegetarian dish inspired by the African side of the Mediterranean Sea. You don't need to travel far to find the ingredients or spend a lot of time in the kitchen to enjoy this tangy, savory stew.

Find the recipe here

Click here to send us your healthy recipes and tips.

Did You Know: Campus Recreation Offers Virtual Group Exercise

Penn faculty and staff can participate in virtual group exercise classes led by Campus Recreation. If you want to try a new workout or you miss taking BODYCOMBAT, HIIT, GRIT, yoga, or Zumba on campus, virtual classes are available through Zoom or Instagram Live (@penncampusrec). Visit the Penn Campus Recreation Group Exercise page for the class schedule and Zoom meeting details.



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