myHR: News from Penn's Division of Human Resources

myHR: October 5, 2022

New Penn Service Assists Staff with Student Loan Debt

Piggy bank with a graduate hatStudent loan debt has increased significantly over the past decade and has climbed to more than $1.7 trillion. Penn understands that many staff and faculty have been burdened with repayment, creating strains on your mental and financial health. That’s why the University has partnered with PeopleJoy, a financial wellness benefits organization that specializes in student loan repayment and forgiveness, to help you take charge of your student loan debt.  

Penn now offers employees a free service administered by PeopleJoy. They will help you determine your eligibility for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, assist you with navigating the application process, and advocate on your behalf with student loan providers. Participating employees will receive: 

  • Program assessments: Get help to identify the best federal repayment programs based on your individual financial situation.
  • Program enrollment: PeopleJoy will enroll you in the repayment programs, removing confusing paperwork and worries of missing enrollment or annual recertification deadlines.
  • Goals-based coaching: Receive repayment planning advice and coaching based on your short- and long-term budget, income projections, and financial health. Regular check-in calls are also available.
  • College financial planning: This includes one-on-one time with an advisor, evaluation of best college financing options, and other resources. 

PeopleJoy has assisted thousands of employees with qualifying for PSLF and helped borrowers receive nearly $3 million in loan forgiveness in 2022.

If you have outstanding student loans and would like to use this free service, visit the PeopleJoy platform at You will need your work email address, Penn ID, and information about your student loans. Once you’ve filled in the required information, a member of the PeopleJoy support team will contact you via email to request additional information if needed, activate the service and identify next steps, or notify you if they are unable to assist you.

Learn How PeopleJoy Can Help

PeopleJoy representatives will hold four webinars to discuss how they can help you with your student loans. Click on the links below to register:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the session.

If you have more questions about Public Service Loan Forgiveness, please review the PSLF FAQs. You can also visit the PeopleJoy webpage on the HR website. 

October is Work and Family Month

Family strolling through park during fallAs autumn starts and the trees begin to lose their leaves, it is important to not fall behind on a healthy work-life fit. October is National Work and Family Month. To support work and family balance this month and throughout the year, Penn offers Work-life programs for staff and faculty.

Whether you are adjusting to a hybrid work style, caring for a loved one, or practicing self-care, check out the highlights from Penn’s Work and Family Month schedule. All programs are free for benefits-eligible faculty and staff. To register for any of these events, click on the titles below.

Pronouns Matter
October 5, 12 p.m.
This presentation will explore gender identity, the importance of pronouns, how to honor and affirm transgender and non-binary individuals, and why it is so crucial to get it right. The workshop will focus on identity as a core component to sense of self/self-worth, how that translates particularly in a healthcare setting, and what we as providers/loved ones can do to validate all identities.

Cooking Demonstration with Corporate Wellness Nutrition
October 11, 12-1 p.m.
Come and join Corporate Wellness Nutrition's Registered Dietitian, Christine Steerman online to create a treat that is perfect for breakfast, a snack, and even a dessert. This recipe is healthy and filling and makes a perfect grab and go option for the whole family to enjoy!   

Mindful Parenting Strategies
October 11, 12-1 p.m.
This workshop, presented by the Penn Program on Mindfulness, will explore ways to stay present, even in moments of chaos, to communicate more effectively, and to see our children clearly.

New and Expectant Parent Briefing
October 13, 11 a.m.-12 p.m.
This is an introductory resource briefing designed for expectant parents and those who are new to parenting or childcare. Participants will learn about local and university childcare and parenting resources including the lactation support program, childcare locators, back-up care, adjusting to new schedules, flexible work options, among other topics. This session will also cover Penn's time away from policies including short-term disability (STD), parental leave, and related sick leave policies.

Penn Family Day
October 15, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
On Saturday, October 15, Penn Family Day will return to campus. University staff, faculty, and postdocs are invited to enjoy Quaker athletics action and celebrate the Penn community with family and friends, with up to four free tickets for the tailgate party and football game. Order your tickets by October 8. (Additional tickets are $8 each.)   

Lactation Group-Postpartum Discussion
October 17, 12 p.m.
This interactive, virtual conversation, led by Lactation Consultant Liz Brooks JD IBCLC FILCA, will provide an opportunity for expecting, new, and experienced parents to get help with lactation challenges and share helpful tips with one another. This session will focus on postpartum concerns.

Avoiding Burnout
October 18, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Employees who try to work too hard or do too much can become overly stressed. The final stage of this stress response is burnout, which is a concern for employers who want to maintain productivity in the workplace. This workshop teaches participants about the physiological and emotional dangers of stress and burnout, as well as how to develop more efficient and effective coping skills.       

Using the Tuition Benefit for You and Your Family
October 24, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Join this session to learn more about the tuition benefit program and how you can use the benefit for yourself at Penn, or how the tuition benefit can support your dependents or spouse in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree. At this session, you will learn more about coverage, how to request the benefit using the online tuition management system and tax implications if you are using the benefit for a graduate program.

Finding Balance in Busy Lives
October 25, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Finding balance between our personal and professional lives is something many people strive for. However, consistently striving to achieve total balance can lead to feelings of guilt. By setting and working towards attainable goals at work and home, we can find ways to reduce guilt and feel more balanced. This webinar offers daily tips and long-term strategies to find the work/life balance that works for you, minimizing stress in the process.

Mindful Communication
November 1, 12-1 p.m.
The mind is either creative or negative. How we think and feel becomes our habitual behaviors. In this class, you will develop a short daily practice for calming and establishing the priority of peach, ease, and relaxation for well-being and work-life balance. This experiential class offers participants journaling, breathing, noting mindset, and establishing the awareness of acceptance, harmony, and releasing fear.

For year-round work-life resources, visit the Wellness and Work-life pages.

Going the Distance Together with Penn’s Way

Penn employees stand on a trackfield.Penn’s Way, the workplace charitable giving campaign at Penn, is another way for us to be there for the Penn community. Together we can make a difference for those in need. The campaign theme, Going the Distance for our  Community , spotlights Penn’s commitment to support those in need. From faculty and staff across the University and Penn Medicine, our people have proven their generosity time and again. And it’s never been more important than it is now.

This year’s Penn's Way Campaign runs from October 3 through November 18. We encourage the Penn community to bring home the message of caring by contributing to organizations that are, like us, going the distance for our communities.

Penn’s Way partners include Penn Medicine and the Philadelphia Alliance for Change. You can find more information about these partners and a complete list of participating agencies at the Penn’s Way partners page.

Enter your pledge on the Penn’s Way site as a secure, convenient, sustainable, and time-saving way to support your community. The website is now mobile-friendly and even easier to navigate.

Collectively, our donations continue to make a broad and immediate impact on our community and the vulnerable populations we serve. We are asking our team members to give what they can; to give from the heart.

What Your Gift Can Provide

Here are some examples of the impact different gifts can make for our community.

$4.00 buys a one-day canoe field trip for a school child.

$10.00 would retrieve 20 tires from a roadside dump.

$15.00 buys a compact fluorescent light bulb for a low-income family.

$50.00 buys a programmable thermostat for a low-income family.

$100.00 provides a week's supply of lifesaving medication.

$150.00 provides a day of activities for 15 seniors.

$200.00 would give an inner-city youth or an individual with a physical disability a weeklong wilderness experience.

$500.00 would organize a volunteer cleanup that removes 10 tons of trash.


Penn's Way supporters and area merchants generously provide prizes that the campaign organizers award through weekly random drawings. Anyone participating in Penn's Way is eligible for the drawings, which are held the early part of the week, beginning the second week of the campaign. Once you have participated in Penn’s Way, you are eligible for each week’s raffle thereafter. Visit the Penn’s Way raffle page for details.

Thank you for supporting Penn’s Way!

Positive Behavior

Old couple smilingWhat is happiness? It is something that people search for, but what defines happiness can vary from one person to the next. It is often defined as an emotional state characterized by feelings of joy, satisfaction, contentment, and fulfillment. Happiness doesn’t have to be confined to moments or special experiences. You can find purpose in everyday acts and develop healthy habits that produce the real feeling of happiness. Learn how by attending the Meeting Happiness virtual workshop on November 4 from 12 to 12:45 p.m.

“The field of Positive Psychology has exponentially grown as a mechanism to study and explain the science behind happiness through flourishing and well-being.,” says workshop facilitator Rafael Perez.

“However, some people may feel vulnerable utilizing some core Positive Psychology tools, because they require deep self-reflection activities. Thus, I like to utilize engaging techniques that remove negative emotions and make us think about what happiness really is,” Perez says.  

In this workshop Perez will provide participants with tools, techniques, and activities to find motivation for positive behavior and purpose in all that you do. By attending you will:

  • Learn empowering elements, talents, and skills for professional and personal growth
  • Develop tips for human performance to meet true happiness
  • Understand the ‘noise’ of life and drains on contentedness
  • Discover micro habit learning that will provide a sense of purpose
  • Receive a formula for happiness to inspire curiosity and learn to live better with less things in your life.  

Register today for the Meeting Happiness workshop and bring more fulfillment to your personal and professional lives.

For more professional development opportunities, visit the Learn & Grow web page.

Getting Ready for Your Performance Reviews

Laptop computer screen and webinar chairs

The performance review process is an opportunity for staff and managers to reflect on past performance, assess current accomplishments, and plan for future goals. When you’re well-prepared, it can be a valuable experience for your entire team.

How can you make your performance reviews more effective this year? Start by attending a virtual demonstration of the staff mid-year performance review process at the October 12 Workday@Penn Webinar from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

If you are a staff member or manager and would like a step-by-step demonstration of the new Workday process, you are encouraged to attend. Staff covered by collective bargaining agreements and Penn Medicine clinicians do not use Workday for their performance management processes.

Registration is not required. To attend, click on this Zoom link (Meeting ID: 913 3003 6226) on the day of the event. You can also download the 22-10-12 Workday@Penn Webinar iCalendar to add the event to your Outlook calendar.

In this webinar, participants will receive:

  • An overview of the performance review process
  • A demonstration of the staff employee self-evaluation and manager processes

There will be a Q&A portion of the webinar in which you can submit questions about the Workday performance management process using the Zoom chat function. Questions on policy or your personal situation should be directed to the HR representatives of your school or center. 

You can also submit an anonymous question before the event. Deadline to make your submissions is close of business on Friday, October 7. Answers to pre-event questions on the Workday performance management process will be discussed at the event as time permits. 

For more information about Workday@Penn webinars or to view and listen to past webinars, visit the Webinar Wednesdays webpage.

Don’t Forget Your Goals

Goal setting is an important part of the performance review process. Remember to enter your goals into Workday. For guidance on goals, staff and managers can access a six-minute video in Knowledge Link, which explains goals in Workday, demonstrates how an employee or manager enters and updates goals in Workday, and shows how goals become part of the Workday performance review process.

You can also find details by visiting the Effective Performance Management webpage. For step-by-step instructions on how to enter, edit, restore, and archive goals, review the Goals and Performance Management tip sheet.  

Brighten Your Perspective

Sun shining through open blindsFull-time employees spend most of their waking hours on the job. This time is too valuable to spend feeling unmotivated and gloomy. In the ideal world, everyone would find happiness while getting paid. But not everyone can afford to “follow your bliss” and earn a living at the same time. It may seem like workplace happiness is only for fortunate people with dream jobs, yet astronauts, R&B stars, billionaires, and even professional puppy snugglers can feel stuck after setbacks and other stressful situations. What if happiness at work wasn’t just about the job itself, but something deeper that all of us can uncover?

If you agree life is too short to be unhappy on the job and you’d like to explore brighter approaches to career satisfaction, then you’re ready for the Work Happiness MethodTM, a series of free workshops on Tuesdays, 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. from October 12 through November 16.

Join Positive Psychology expert and Executive Coach, Stella Grizont, in a six-week program designed to build your resilience, clarity, sense of purpose, healthy boundaries, and courage. The first session will take place at 3624 Market Street, Suite 1A South, on October 12 at 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. The remaining sessions will be live video conferences.

“I’ve gone through my share of crying in the office bathroom,” says Grizont on her website. “I was stressed and conflicted about my career (several times) until I finally cracked the code. Instead of setting exciting goals and even achieving them and then feeling underwhelmed or disappointed, I stopped focusing on what I wanted to DO, and started thinking about how I wanted to BE.”

Grizont has helped over 1,300 people transform their work life. Her clients include Google, Johnson & Johnson, and Columbia University. Now Penn offers you access to her proven program.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to learn how to shift your mind-set, cope with stress, awaken yourself, and unlearn habits that sabotage your success. Register for The Work Happiness MethodTM today. 

Healthy Meals: Honey Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

Cauliflower coated in buffalo sauceHoney Buffalo Cauliflower Bites are the perfect appetizer for any party, especially on game day! These delightful morsels are not only a vegetarian’s delight but can also satisfy even the most dedicated meat lovers. Cauliflower bites may taste like they’re fried, but these sweet and sticky pieces are a healthy baked alternative that the whole family will enjoy.

Click here to send us your healthy recipes and tips.


1·½ cup (60grams) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon paprika

½ cup (120mL) plain almond milk or milk of choice

1 head cauliflower chopped into florets

½ cup (120mL) hot sauce such as Frank’s buffalo sauce (or to taste)

1 tablespoon (15mL) canola oil or your oil of choice

1 tablespoon (20grams) honey


Preheat the oven to 425°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and paprika until combined. Whisk in the almond milk until the batter is smooth. Add the cauliflower florets to the mixture and toss until they are evenly coated.

Spread cauliflower out on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until fork tender, gently stirring halfway through.

While cauliflower is cooking, in a small bowl, combine the hot sauce, oil, and honey. Set aside.

Once cauliflower is cooked, toss with the prepared hot sauce mixture. Transfer the cauliflower back to the baking sheet. Bake for 2–3 more minutes, until sauce is bubbling. Serve hot.

CWN recipe logo

For more tips and nutrition support, meet with a Corporate Wellness Nutrition Registered Dietitian today!

  • One-on-One, virtual sessions you can schedule at any time that works for you
  • 100% covered under many insurance plans and available to spouses and dependents
  • Simple Sign Up Process – Visit Penn’s Corporate Wellness Nutrition’s Sign Up page, provide your information and a customer service team member will reach out in 1-2 business days to book your appointment.

Did You Know: Order Penn Family Day Tickets by October 8

Saturday, October 15 marks the 28th annual Penn Family Day! University staff, faculty, and postdocs are invited to enjoy Quaker athletics and celebrate the Penn community with family and friends. Order your four free tickets (additional tickets $8 each) for the Penn Family Day tailgate party and football game by October 8. For the complete schedule, visit the Penn Family Day webpage.



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