myHR: News from Penn's Division of Human Resources

myHR: July 14, 2021

Protect Your Legacy

caring for child

While the future may hold many surprises, one thing is certain—the value of designating your beneficiaries. This act helps you protect your financial legacy. reminds us, “Naming your beneficiaries and putting essential documents in place puts you in control and can make a difference for the people and causes you care about.” To learn more, visit TIAA’s Stay Smart for Generations webpage for an informative video and practical guidance.

Life happens fast. New people enter our circle through adoptions, births, weddings, remarriage and relocations. Names and addresses change over time. Before you know it, your records may be out of date or no longer reflect your choices.

Taking a little time to confirm or correct your beneficiary information could save your loved ones months of hassles if they ever need to receive the benefits you worked so hard to provide to them. By designating your beneficiaries for all your financial accounts, you can avoid burdensome added costs and probate court.

For your peace of mind, follow these simple instructions below to take a look at your beneficiary information in your new Penn TIAA retirement plan account and your Penn life insurance and AD&D records in Workday.

For Your Retirement Plans

Log in to your retirement planning account through Penn’s SSO link.

  • If you haven’t designated beneficiaries for any retirement plans in your new Penn TIAA records, you’ll see an alert on your screen. Follow the prompts.
  • If you would like to update your beneficiary information at TIAA, select Actions from the top menu, then Click Beneficiaries in the Top actions section of the page. From there, follow the prompts.

For assistance, call the TIAA Retirement Call Center at 877-736-6738.

For Your Penn Life and AD&D Insurance

Log in to your Workday@Penn account.

Checking and editing your current beneficiaries

  • Under Applications, select Benefits.
  • On the Change section of the Benefits Page, select Beneficiaries.
  • To check your beneficiaries’ information, click on their name.
  • To update their information, click the Edit button next to their name.

Adding a beneficiary and changing allocations

  1. Select the Benefits application on the Workday homepage.
  2. In the Change column, select Benefits.
  3. In the Benefit Event Type field select Beneficiary Change from the drop-down list.
    Note: Selecting Benefit Event Type → Beneficiary Change does not require you to change coverage.
  4. In the Benefit Event Date field enter the date that the benefit event change happened. (This date can be the date you log in to make the change.)
  5. Select Submit to get to the next step (attachments and comments are optional).
  6. The follow the prompts to open the next page. There, you can review, add, update, or remove beneficiaries using the plus and minus icon.

If you would like assistance with Penn’s life and AD&D insurance benefits, call the Benefits Solution Center at 866-799-2329.

Overcome Mental Obstacles to Performance

imaginary brainstorm

Whether you work on a team or manage staff, successful job performance requires more than just skills, knowledge, and the talent to complete particular tasks. It also calls for a basic understanding of how the human mind works. That means, considering the psychology behind how you do your job, what motivates you and your team to work, and the factors that can sometimes get in the way of your success.

To learn how to form a framework that can be used to diagnose performance issues and the best ways to overcome them, attend the Psychology of Job Performance virtual workshop on August 4 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

This workshop, facilitated by Bryant Kuehner, Senior Training and Development Consultant for Talent Development, connects workplace performance with behavioral science and motivation concepts. Participants will learn how to use those concepts to troubleshoot performance issues and find the most efficient and effective ways to overcome barriers to success. By exploring several common performance scenarios, participants will have the opportunity to apply these concepts.

“Job performance is the result of our individual behaviors, and science has shown that our behaviors are influenced by how we think and feel. Since we clearly can’t shut these parts of our brains down during the day, we need to consider how to influence the types of thoughts and emotions that lead to desired behaviors on the job. This is where ensuring that your staff have the proper guidance, resources, and rewards is key,” Kuehner says.

“The biggest mistake any manager can make is to immediately blame the individual whose performance is struggling. In reality, their inability to meet their goals is more likely influenced by elements in their environment. These are the sorts of elements that we will explore in the class,” he says.

By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:  

  • Explain the connection between job performance and basic principles of human behavior and motivation;
  • Identify the key factors of workplace performance;
  • Describe the difference in effectiveness between staff-centered interventions and workplace-centered interventions; and
  • Apply an understanding of these factors to “troubleshoot” performance issues on their teams and propose solutions.

Register today for the Psychology of Job Performance workshop and find ways to create success for you and your team.

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

Reroute Your Thoughts on Commuting

Ben franklin bridge

Does the thought of commuting automatically make you see red? As more faculty and staff return to on-campus work, the roads and rails will get more crowded. It’s a good time to rethink your approach to travel to see if there’s a better way to get where you need to go. While one person can’t change the regional infrastructure to suit their needs alone, you can adjust many aspects of your commute for the better.

Not only can you reroute your personal thought patterns to make commuting less stressful, you may find that your commute--whether you’re crossing the Ben Franklin Bridge or simply crossing the street--can take you further in both your professional and personal life.

Changing your approach to commuting doesn’t require hopping on a trolley to the Neighborhood of Make-believe when you mask up to ride SEPTA, pretending you’re Lightening McQueen from Cars, or imagining Thomas the Tank Engine is pulling the PATCO train. It’s a practical, grown-up way to cope with the real world of transportation.


Planning and research can help you set realistic expectations and avoid frustrations.

Even if you’ve been commuting to and from campus for months, there may be changes to public transit and other commuter options that you may be unfamiliar with. To help you prepare, Penn Transportation and Parking has created a Return to Campus commuting resource portal, which details the extensive portfolio of commuting options that are available at Penn. Here are some highlights:


View your commute as an opportunity for time for you. Many commuters enjoy the sense of control they feel behind the wheel. Passengers often read books or study for the class. You may also:

  • Listen to music and other recordings that energize you. This time can feed your purpose and thereby increase your energy potential.
  • Take a micro-rest to boost resilience.
  • Connect with friends on the phone or observe nature on your route. 

Be present

If you are operating any vehicle, safety is your first priority. Resist the urge to multitask behind the wheel or handlebars. If you’re listening to music or podcasts, keep the volume low enough so you can hear the world around you.

Pedestrians and passengers who pay attention to their surroundings are not only safer; they may discover something new and beautiful in their environment. You might even hear your neighbor say, “Hello.”

Be intentional

Just because you are a passenger doesn’t mean you don’t have control of your time. Depending on your surroundings, you can use your ride for energy increasing activities.

  • Try biking or getting off a stop early and walking.
  • Listen to a podcast on a personal or work-related topic to expand your perspective and knowledge.

Be strategic about your schedule

Commuting can be more stressful during rush hours. A 30-minute tweak to your schedule can positively affect your commuting experience.

Talk to your manager about adjusting your arrival and departure times to make sure this adjustment allows you and your coworkers to meet the needs of your department.

What if you miss commuting?

In a recent essay in The Atlantic, Jerry Useem writes, “When I gave up my own commute some years ago, I came to a realization. The smell of the café car, the gathering of the shoulder bag, the clack of shoes on the lobby floor—all the sensory cues saying You’re a professional journalist arriving in Manhattan for work  would be gone…I began to wonder if getting to work was the same as getting to work. “

Like changing out of sweatpants or taking off a tie, travel time can also help people readjust their mindset. One study found that the ideal commute time was not zero minutes but 16. Blake Ashforth, coauthor of a frequently cited management study, calls the commute “a relatively efficient way of simultaneously facilitating a physical and psychological shift between roles.”

These role changes allow us to pivot from one aspect of our lives to another, which can be vitally important in our various relationships. Staying in work mode with family and friends or vice versa can be awkward, and in some situations, just plain wrong.

On days when we might not need to commute, put on heels, or coveralls, or a lab coat, and think about what you can do instead to help switch mental gears,

If you will be working a hybrid schedule for the foreseeable future, you may want to create your own role-changing practice or ritual that you can do in any location.

  • Cover up your computer at the end of the day.
  • Set an alarm that prompts you with a question to end your day such as “What have I achieved?” “What did I learn?” “What do I plan to do tomorrow?”
  • Try journaling either on paper or online as a cue to switch roles. Take time to write or record your accomplishments and plans so that your mind can let them go at least temporarily and prepare to shift into the rest of your day.
  • Start or resume a meditation or mindfulness practice.

Visit the Wellness and Worklife pages for information, training sessions and links that can help you become a more mindful commuter.

Healthy Meals: No-Bake Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

no bake cheesecake bars

Desserts don’t get much cooler than these no-bake vegan berry bars. Enjoy the tangy sweetness of traditional cheesecake without turning on the oven. Simply blend nutritional powerhouse ingredients like blueberries, cashews and soy yogurt until smooth, pour the mixture over a nutty crust, and freeze. Voilá. Delicious dairy-free sweets.


Find the recipe here.

Click here to send us your healthy recipes and tips.

Did You Know: PennCard’s Return-to-Campus Information

An up-to-date PennCard is essential for building access. Important new information on replacing expired University ID cards and new card issuance is at Department administrators should use the new PennCard Request Form to obtain cards for their affiliates, associates, and temporary staff. Appointments are required for some services, such as replacement or new card pick-up. The PennCard Center Office is open M-F, 8:30am to 5:00pm. Contact



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