HR Certification Podcast Episode 2: Reviewing Business and Strategy

Welcome to the HR Certification Podcast, a podcast for HR leaders working towards their human resources certification with HRCI and SHRM. Join host Jessica Miller-Merrell, founder of and HR certification prep program, Ace The HR Exam as she shares study tips, exam insights, and topical review for HR exams, including the aPHR, PHR, SPHR, SHRM-CP, and SHRM-SCP. Now here’s Jessica with this episode of the HR Certification Podcast.

HR Certification Podcast Episode 2: Reviewing Business and Strategy

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:00:38.82] Hi, and welcome to the HR Certification Podcast. I’m your host, Jessica Miller-Merrell, and I’m excited to have you here. My mission, purpose and passion is elevating the human resources industry, and in this HR Certification Podcast episode, I help HR leaders in personal and professional development solely focused on HR certification for SHRM, and HRCI. That’s what this HR Certification Podcast is all about. The podcast is powered by Workology’s HR certification prep courses and resources. You can learn more about those by visiting Now, before I dive into this podcast episode today, I want to hear from you. Please text the words “HR CERTIFICATION” to 512-548-3005. Ask questions, leave comments and make suggestions for future HR certification prep topics for this podcast. This is my community text number and I really want to hear from you. In each episode, I will cover information and resources to help you with your HR certification exams. This podcast is designed to be short. I want it to be to the point so you can review and move on. I know that you’re busy. Believe me, the HR Certification Podcast is going to be divided into different segments. In each episode, we’re going to address a common question or HR topical area to assist you in your review. We will also review an HR glossary term and then we’ll walk through an HR certification exam question. Sounds good? Again, these podcast episodes are designed for SHRM and HRCI exams and these include the aPHR, the PHR, the SPHR, the SHRM-CP, and the SHRM-SCP exams. In the transcript notes of each episode, I will also share recommended resources and information to assist you in your review, which is available at

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:02:52.81] So in this episode today, we are talking about the topics of business and strategy. Every exam has business and strategy test questions. It’s part of the content, the body of knowledge, the body of applied skills and knowledge, whatever it’s called, it’s included. These are part of SHRM’s body of applied skills and knowledge and also HRCI’s body of knowledge, the BASK or the BoCK. I have links to more information about what’s included in these. You can go to select HR Certification there and you’ll have access to the general overview of SHRM and HRCI along with links to the BASK, to the BoCK, and more detail about the differences in the HR certification exams. So first things first. What’s covered on these exams changes every year. Sometimes it is a significant change and sometimes it’s a small one. With SHRM, there have been lots of category changes and some shifts over the last couple of years as it relates to HR professionals having a broader area of expertise and understanding of the business. And I’m talking about outside of the basic HR knowledge base. The aPHR and the PHR really cover those things, the SPHR and then the SHRM exams go into more detail. It’s a broader focus and it’s a focus more on business and strategy.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:04:24.63] So let’s shift over to the first segment of this podcast episode, which is all about understanding business and strategy topics for the aPHR, the PHR, the SPHR, the SHRM-CP and the SHRM-SCP exams. Are you ready? Let’s go. With SHRM, we’ll start with SHRM, business is a behavioral competency, which means for the 2023 testing window, this accounts for 16.5% of the total test questions. Keep in mind, this number is changing every year. As I mentioned, things change. If you’re listening to this podcast in the future, welcome. Go to and select HR Certification and you can get access to the most up-to-date information. I will be adjusting this as SHRM and HRCI make changes. So for SHRM, business acumen content includes things like financial statements, mission, vision, and values, analytics and analysis, as well as making sure the HR department is in alignment with the organization. This is an important part of both exams and helping us navigate our role as experts in HR who also serve as advisors and consultants. This is an important distinction for these SHRM exams.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:05:44.70] I also have found when it comes to SHRM, that the behavioral competencies tend to be where the situational judgment test questions creep in. They like to pop up there and remember these account for up to 40% of your exam questions. The total exam questions. 40% of them are going to be the longer form situational judgment test questions. This means that you really need to have a grasp on these topics. I mean, solid as in you could teach someone this content versus just answer a test question. There are different levels of knowledge retention and understanding. So you want to think about these and how you can answer them correctly in a situational judgment test question from the SHRM point of view. I’m going to talk more about what the SHRM point of view means in the next segment of this episode. So stay tuned.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:06:39.78] Moving over to HRCI, you are also going to need to know business and strategy. This includes the PHR and most importantly for the SPHR, this is a larger percentage of the exam. For the SPHR business and strategy side accounts for up to 40% of the test questions. That’s in the body of knowledge over there. It’s a substantial segment for the SPHR, but it is also important for the PHR as well. All of this information, business and strategy is incredibly important, not just to pass the exam, but because HR also struggles with business acumen, and in my mind, this is the single most important knowledge area for heads of HR. So if you’re a director or you are wanting to move into a senior-level HR role, you need to understand the business. It allows you to help gain credibility and work effectively with your executive-level peers. We can communicate with them. You need to know this stuff so that you can speak the language of the business with people. That’s your expertise, so you can put the people spin on it. But it’s the business side of what we do.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:07:49.05] For those of us who are not comfortable with business and strategy, this means getting uncomfortable. You need to get familiar, but also uncomfortable at first with business data and strategy outside of that HR wheelhouse. You need to step outside from behind the desk and get into panels and other parts of the business. Really understanding what your executive-level peers are doing and talking about. If you need some help in this area, I have a book recommendation for you. This is probably way advanced for HR certification. However, I think it’s really important wherever you are starting in your HR journey to be familiar. So grab a copy of this book. I’ll put it in the show notes link here. It’s called Financial Intelligence for HR Professionals. I have an Amazon link for you. I use this when I’m teaching business acumen courses for HR leaders. Like I said, I’m going to link to this show, in the show notes this book and you can go to to be able to get access.

Break: [00:08:57.84] Let’s take a reset while we move into the next segment of the HR Certification Pdcast powered by Workology, shall we? I’m your host, Jessica Miller-Merrell. Workology offers HR certification courses and resources all for prep To learn more about these courses and our prep resources, you can visit or go to We offer a variety of prep resources, including physical things like our HR certification flashcards and also study guides along with courses for all different types of learners. Most importantly, I make these accessible for you whenever and wherever you are. Our courses are digital generally and also on-demand, so they’re also accessible on our very own Workology app, which is available on Android and iOS. Before we get back, I want to hear from you. Shoot me a text. Text the word “HR CERTIFICATION” to 512-548-3005. Ask me questions, leave comments, and make suggestions for future HR Certification Podcast topics. This is my community text number and I want to hear from you.

HR Glossary Term(s) – Mission, Value and Vision Statements 

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:10:10.23] So we are now moving into a special segment of the HR Certification Podcast where we review an HR glossary term. And I do this for every single episode. So if you are catching episode two, go back to episode one and episode zero, and so on. We will have the same format for each where we review a different set of terms or a term. These are all terms and definitions that are on the SHRM and HRCI exams. When it comes to becoming familiar with HR terms that are part of the SHRM or HRCI knowledge base, I want you to review these repeatedly over time. It takes time to learn and understand and really comprehend, and ultimately teach this to someone else. This is one of the reasons that I encourage you to use different learning styles, because we have to let this sit and process in our brain over time and using different styles, audio, visual, taking notes, teaching others, watching videos, using flashcards. It’s so important. And this is one of the reasons why in our Ace The HR Exam course, we offer so many different types of supporting learning. It’s not just lecture. It is test questions, it’s flashcards, it’s longer form content, it’s shorter form content. I encourage you to focus on one single subject matter area and review those. So in our course, we encourage you to focus on an area that is most likely to be on the exam and is a weak spot for you, master that first, then you move on to your next topic. So you pick things that are weak spots that are most likely to be on the exam. It gives you a larger percentage or likelihood that come exam day you’re going to actually pass the exam because you’re stronger in areas that there’s more test questions on. And all our content is organized this way. This is the most important part, I think, of structuring your HR certification prep review. So let’s get into the review of our HR glossary term for this episode.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:12:15.72] Today I’m going to cover three terms because they kind of all work together. They’re part of the business competency. See what I did here? We’re making this all work. We are talking about mission statement, vision statement, and value statement today. So let’s get into it for you. So a mission statement is what the organization or function intends to pursue, and it’s chartered, chartered management course. Your mission statement provides focus and purpose of strategy. Said another way. The mission statement describes what the organization needs to do to achieve its vision. The vision and mission statements support each other, but the mission statement is more specific. Remember this. The mission statement is more specific. It defines how the organization will be different from other organizations in the industry. Now, mission indicates where the organization will compete. Make sure that includes the industry that they work in and how it will compete. That means what it will do to be different from other organizations. Its competition. The mission statement conveys to stakeholders why the organization exists, and it explains how it creates value for the market or the larger community. An example for you. Patagonia. Their mission statement is build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:13:49.14] Let’s move on to our vision statement. That is what the organization or function aspires to become in the future. And the vision statement provides motivation and unity. A vision statement is a statement of an organization’s overarching aspirations of what it hopes to achieve or to become. It does not provide specific targets. The vision is a broad description of the value an organization provides. It is a visual image of what the organization is trying to become or produce. It should include things that inspire people and motivate them to want to be part of the organization and contribute. Vision statements should be clear, concise, and are usually not longer than a short paragraph. An example is Teach for America. Their vision statement is one day all children in the nation will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:14:52.71] Let’s move on to values statement. Value statement is what beliefs the organization or function supports through its behavior and actions, and it provides a guidepost for decision-making. That is a values statement. Providing a guidepost for decision making. Values are often also called ethics. We’re talking about a value statement here, and this differs from the vision and mission. A vision and mission statement where the organization is going. That’s the vision, right? And what it will do to get there. That’s our mission. A value statement defines what the company believes in and how people in the organization are expected to behave. That includes with each other, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders. This provides a moral direction for the organization. That guides decision-making and establishes a standard of assessing actions. This is our value statement. It looks more like a company policy or code of ethics. And this aligns to specific behaviors and actions and tends to be much longer than a vision or mission statement. That’s our values statement. So we talked about mission, vision, and value statements today in this segment of the HR Certification podcast.

HR Test Question Review for SHRM and HRCI Certification Exams 

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:16:18.11] Let’s move in to our next segment. This is a special segment on the HR Certification Podcast, where we review an HR test question. And we do this for every single episode. Test questions are so important because it tests your knowledge. Have you learned and retained what you have been studying? The test questions that we talk about here on the HR Certification Podcast are all things that are included in the knowledge base for SHRM and HRCI. So it does dual purpose here. Before I get to the test question, I want to review our HR test question framework. Five steps, real quick. I have more information about this on our Workology YouTube channel, a link to it in the show notes and you can get access to things in more detail there. But here it is in the short form, quick version. HR Test Question Framework. Step one: Read each question slowly and concisely. Step two: Identify the HR competency. What competency is being covered in this test question? That’s two. Three: Eliminate the wrong answers. Or four, and four: WWSD or WWHD. That stands for What Would SHRM Do or What Would HRCI Do? Our world is very gray in HR, but when we’re taking the exam, there’s only one right answer. So sometimes you have to ask yourself, if SHRM is writing this question, what would they do? If HRCI has only one right answer, which would they do? And you pick your best answer. If all else fails, number five is: Go with your gut answer. Every single question. Doesn’t matter if it’s right, you picked the best answer in the moment that you had. And if you’re unsure, flag that question, but answer it and go back later if you have time.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:18:12.78] So let’s get into this episode’s featured HR certification exam practice test question. Before we do, I have a lot more test questions for you in a whole host of resources. You can grab 25 more, go to Go to You can get 25 free test questions there. All right. Into the question now. A financial services company plans to expand globally by purchasing a chain of offices owned by a smaller, struggling firm. The company name will change. The parent firm’s policies will extend to the new offices, and the parent firm will provide investment and analysis tools to advisers, many of whom will continue to work in the same capacity they did at the smaller firm, also in global locations. What type of growth strategy is this? Is it A) Management contract. B) Partnership. C) Acquisition. Or D) Turnkey operation. I’ll reread the question again.

What type of growth strategy is this that I just described?

A) Management contract.

B) Partnership.

C) Acquisition.

D) Turnkey operation.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:19:28.52] Drum roll, please. The answer is C) Acquisition. And an acquisition refers to a takeover of one entity by another, which is what has happened here in this scenario. So if you missed this question, don’t stress, make a note and add this topic to your daily review. Reviewing test questions are really important. It allows you to determine where your knowledge gaps are. I suggest you review test questions by competency and topic, which is what we do in our test question product and part of our HR exam. This helps you determine where your knowledge gaps are and what you need to focus more of your studying on if you’re not retaining a certain area and that is an important part of the exam, you should be devoting more time to it and focusing on different ways to learn, because sometimes just listening to audio isn’t going to work for you. It might work for somebody else, but it might not work for you. This is the way to test if that information is sticking in your long-term memory. Again, I have more test questions and you can grab our free 25-question test bank at

Closing: [00:20:39.40] So HR certification is such an important step in your career, and it doesn’t matter whether you are looking to increase your knowledge base. If you are wanting to gain credibility at the office, increase your income potential, or you just want to prove it to yourself, you deserve it all. You are the most important person in this equation. You are the expert in human resources and it’s your life. So let’s do this. Together, I want to work with you to help elevate the HR profession, and that starts with you. Thank you for joining this episode of the HR Certification Podcast. My name is Jessica Miller-Merrell and I help leaders ace their HR certification exams. Let me do the same for you. Workology offers a host of courses and resources to help you ace your HR exam. Go to to learn more about how we help HR professionals earn and prepare for their aPHR, their PHR, their SPHR, the SHRM-CP, and the SHRM-SCP exams. Now, if you have a suggestion for another episode of the HR Certification Podcast, I want to hear from you. Send me a text. Text the word “HR CERTIFICATION” to 512-548-3005. This is my community text number. Again, I’m Jessica Miller-Merrell. Thank you for joining me in this episode of the HR Certification Podcast. There’s more goodness where that came from. Go to to get access to all our episodes. Best of luck in your HR certification. I know you can do it. I’ll talk to you soon.



– HR Certification Quiz 

– Workology on Youtube | HR Test Question Framework

 – Workology on Youtube | What is a Passing Score on the SHRM and HRCI Exams 

– HR Certification: SHRM and HRCI 

– Book recommendation: Financial Intelligence for HR Professionals

– HR Certification Podcast Episode 0: Deciding Between aPHR, PHR, SPHR, SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP Exams

– HR Certification Podcast Episode 1: How to Study for your HRCI and SHRM Exams

– Workology Podcast | Ep 161 – The Value of HR Certification: #HRCI or #SHRM?

– Workology Podcast | Ep 210 – How to Ace Your HR Certification Exam

– Workology Podcast | Episode 262: Test-Taking Strategies for HRCI and SHRM Certification

– Workology Podcast | Episode 332: Passing your HR Certification exam – What was your experience like?

How to Subscribe to the HR Certification Podcast

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.

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