HR Certification Podcast Episode 4: Risk Review for SHRM and HRCI

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 4: Risk Review for SHRM and HRCI

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:00:38.79] Hi, and welcome to the HR Certification Podcast. I’m your host, Jessica Miller-Merrell, and I am so excited to have you here. My mission, passion, and purpose is elevating the human resources industry and in the HR Certification Podcast, that’s what we’re listening to right here, I help HR leaders in their personal and professional development. Now we are solely focused on HR certification for SHRM and HRCI exams. That’s it. That’s what we do here. Now, this podcast is powered by Workology. That’s the name of my community, my destination. We have HR certification prep courses and resources. If you’re interested in learning more about those, you can visit That is the place to go. Or you can go to the podcast, So before I dive into today’s podcast topic, I want to hear from you. Please text me. Text the word “HR CERTIFICATION” to 512-548-3005. Ask me questions. Leave comments, make suggestions for future topics for the HR Certification Podcast. This is my community text number and I want to hear from you. So in this episode and it really in every episode, but I cover information and resources to help you with your HR certification exams. That’s SHRM and HRCI. This podcast is designed to be short and to the point. I know that we’re busy. I want you to get your review in and move on. The HR Certification Podcast is divided into different segments. Now, in each episode we will address a common question or HR topical area that is important to you in passing your HR certification exam. So we will also review a glossary term and we’ll walk through an HR certification exam question together. It is a lot of fun. It moves fast and it’s action-packed. Again, these podcasts are designed for the SHRM and HRCI exams and those include the aPHR, the PHR, the SPHR, the SHRM-CP, and last but not least, the SHRM-SCP. In the transcript notes of each and every podcast, I will also share recommended resources and information designed to assist you in your HR certification review, and those are available at You can also go to You’ll get there too. But is the place to go.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:03:31.83] So in this specific episode, we are talking about the topic of risk for SHRM and HRCI exams. Let’s start with HRCI. With the PHR, the topic of risk is going to follow fall into the area of health, safety and security. This competency area accounts for just 5% of your overall exam, so risk is a very small amount. I still think you should have a well-rounded sort of knowledge base, but it’s a small percentage. For the PHR, risk falls into business management and employee and labor relations. So we think of the risk in HR category is most common in employment and labor relations. And this also has the most content for the PHR. Employee and labor relations accounts for 39%, yes, 39% of the total exam. So this means that the topic of risk is an important sub-competency for you to know about with the S, sorry for the PHR. Now for the SPHR, risk falls under leadership and strategy. That’s that portion of the SPHR exam. This is also a large percentage. It is 40% of the total exam. It is significant.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:04:47.11] Moving on to SHRM, both exams, the topic of risk falls under the workforce competency, and that is under the HR knowledge umbrella. This is an area the topic of risk that is growing in importance, especially when we think of risk mitigation. I mean, we were in a pandemic after all. I feel like a lot of our job was risk mitigation as our roles change. Moving into HR, a lot more of our roles and responsibilities are strategic and I think we’re moving into that space. So risk is even more important. I’m thinking of this from the point of view of the role of artificial intelligence, particularly in bots which are increasing in use. They provide resources and information to our employees. They’re answering basic-level questions and they provide a basic HR knowledge base, right? Think of like questions common employees using like an AI chatbot where they might ask for the location of certain documents. Instead of swinging by your office, they might ask for a travel expense report, maybe an FMLA request form, or they might have information about policies like the company’s PTO policy or time off policies, maybe also for maternity or paternity leave. So risk is important. I am leaving out for the SHRM conversation here specific percentages of exam content. You might notice that. And that is because the SHRM exam, as I’m recording this for 2023, a few weeks ago, they took down their new 2023 body of applied skills and knowledge. It’s been done for about three weeks. I am waiting for them to republish. They are showing the BASK for 2023 as 2022. I don’t know exactly what’s going on. Maybe they’re making some small tweaks or changes, but if you’re looking for the most recent update with the body of aplied skills and knowledge or the BoCK, the place to go is You’re going to click on the HR certification link and it’s going to take you to all the resources. I will be updating those there and this will help you with the SHRM-CP, the SHRM-SCP, the aPHR, the PHR, and the SPHR. All the certifications that we provide HR certification prep support in.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:07:01.45] So let’s go ahead and move into our segment that is review topics for your risk side of your HR certification exams. This is SHRM and HRCI. So we’re moving into this segment. I am going to be talking about some important topics related to risk this area of focus for both exams, SHRM and HRCI. After all, risk review. This is the focus of this particular podcast episode and I’ve already mentioned why this is important and how likely it is on the exam. So and also the categories of where these things are placed for you. So I would like you to have a listen to a past review series I did a while back where I discussed two different risk topics. These are incredibly important. So we are going to talk about validity and the types of risk analysis. So listen in and enjoy.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:07:59.65] This is part of the body of knowledge. It’s also important in our daily lives as HR professionals. So I’m going to be talking about what you need to know regarding validity, how to apply it in our jobs, and what you need to know to be able to pass the test. If you have a question related to validity on your HRCI or SHRM certification exams, the three types of validity we’re going to be talking about today are criterion, content, and construct. I want to go back to validity and reliability. Let’s think about that. So years ago I worked with my OD team and we created a sales assessment for my inside sales reps. I wanted to make sure that this test was reliable, that it was trustworthy, that when somebody took this assessment, it would demonstrate their performance. It needed to be trusted as part of my new hire process for assessment, I wanted to make sure that that person could do what they said they could do and that the test was trustworthy. It was reliable. The second piece is validity. I wanted to make sure the questions that were answered and asked and the test itself was valid. Did it do what it said it would do? Was it testing the right things that indicated that my sales team was going to be a top performer? Were these related to the job for phone sales? We had them. We asked questions related to a phone sales kind of world. We ask them questions and we validated this study by having our performers, our entire inside sales team take this test several times so that we could ensure we overlap their performance to see is this test valid? Will it work and is it trustworthy?

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:09:54.73] Criterion-related validation that is our first one. It’s a mouthful. Criteria-related validation. This says that if someone performs on the test, there is a statistical correlation. So get out your statistics out right now. There is a correlation that says if someone performs X on this test, their performance will be Y. For example, in our sales roles, when somebody scored high on this assessment, they were a high performer. If they scored low on the assessment, they were a low sales performer. Now, if we obtain this information during the test, if we obtain the criterion during the test, this is called concurrent validity. If we obtain the criterion at a later date, it is called predictive validity. So think about, think back to an assessment or a hiring test or a situation that you encountered and work through an example of how this criterion-related validity will work for you. In content-related validation, we have to show that the questions on the test are related to specific behaviors in the job. So, for example, in my sales assessment, if I was asking them questions related to maybe working a forklift and the assessment or the test determined whether or not they would get the job, that isn’t content-related validity. The questions that I was asking about forklift use for a sales role aren’t valid to the job, so we have to make sure that our questions as part of this assessment are related to the job. And that is an important part when we’re developing a hiring or employment assessment. Content-related validity. That needs to be related to the job at hand.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:12:03.07] Construct-related validation is important and is the third part of our series here. This needs to test important characteristics, so it needs to be able to demonstrate in your assessment or test that the questions asked and the information gathered in this assessment is related to a specific characteristic that is needed in the job. If you need somebody that’s a multitasker or has “stick-to-it-iveness”, need to make sure that the test questions, the assessment questions you ask, demonstrate that characteristic and we can prove that these characteristics are needed in order to perform an inside sales job. Employers that use tests in employment should look to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s guidelines on selection of employing hiring procedures. Some great resources there for you. Validity is important. So finding hiring, validity and doing testing is critical, especially for adverse action.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:13:08.93] There is so much application that you can use in today’s world, in today’s business world, in your life when it comes to SWOT analysis and the Pestel analysis. So SWOT analysis is a type of risk assessment that stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Each one is kind of a group brainstorming activity. So you might sit down with your family and talk about your SWOT analysis for a decision maybe to try to go to Disney World during COVID 19. I would encourage you, as you’re thinking about your exam, to sit down and conduct a SWOT analysis for yourself when it comes to analyzing your level of expertise in different areas that are likely going to be on the exam. So first of all, you’re going to ask yourself when you’re thinking about taking your HRCI or SHRM exams, what are your strengths? What things are you really great with? You don’t have to spend a lot of time. You want to analyze those things that you’re not going to have to spend a lot of time studying for. Those are your strengths. When it comes to your weaknesses, you’re going to do an assessment, and that means looking at the things that you’re weak on that you need more time to review for whatever exam you choose to take. The other area is opportunities. What are things that you feel like? It’s something that you could capitalize on. Maybe it is an area that you can build upon or it is an area that you could really leverage on time. It could be taking advantage of things like drive time. Maybe you’re spending a lot of time in the car and you want to take advantage of those moments using audio lessons to really help elevate and support your learning. The T stands for threats. What are things that are going to get in the way or keep me from passing the exam? It could be real-life situations that are experiencing, like if you have kids, virtual schooling, maybe crisis at work, not having support of your manager, from your manager. These are all very real threats. SWOT analysis isn’t often a formal topic or risk assessment that we do. I feel like we do it every single day, but it’s something that you should sit down with your team or a group of individuals and talk about your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in specific areas. Or if you’re looking to achieve or meet a certain goal or something like passing your HR certification exam. One thing to think about with SWOT analysis is you’re analyzing internal versus external risk. This is very different than our second type of risk assessment, which is called PESTLE. And PESTLE stands for political, economic, social, technological, legal, and environmental risk. I’m going to walk through these six questions and what each one you need to ask yourself when you’re thinking about these six areas.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:16:14.55] As a refresher, PESTLE stands for political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental. I remember that environmental is the second E because the V in environmental falls further down the alphabet than the C and economic. So some questions that we want to ask ourselves when we’re conducting this external risk assessment with PESTEL, we want to ask about political situations, what’s going on in the country or part of the globe or the city or town that we are thinking about maybe building a new business in or a launching a new company, hiring employees for whatever it is. That’s question one. Politics. What is happening there? For example, right now you might be thinking about how the election will impact any future changes or new enhancements or products you might be launching in 2021. The next is economic. What’s happening in the world? Covid is a big concern and something that we’re thinking about is the economy. Are people ready to buy into new products or services? This is something that you need to assess when you’re thinking about PESTEL. Next is societal, social, what’s happening socially in the world? Where are people? What’s in the news? What types of things are important in the city, town, country or area that you’re thinking about launching this product or service? Don’t forget to think about industries. This is extremely important as well. Any societal or social norms that are occurring in a particular industry or area that you’re focusing on. Next is technological. Are there any new enhancements or changes or things happening that are going to change or maybe cause harm or are roadblocks to launching a new product or service? Next is legal. Is the world changing with legal? Yes. And I think that’s something that we’re thinking about every day as HR professionals. What kinds of things are coming are happening or legal encounters might we be facing? Lastly, is the environmental factor. How does this enhance, hurt, or help our environment? And what kind of risks or challenges might be associated with that? These are all things you want to ask yourself when you’re conducting a PESTEL.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:18:40.95] All right. I hope you enjoyed that quick review. These are some of the topics that we cover in our review content. I like to do the short form video review as well as long form. In our Ace The HR Exam course, we have over 60 hours of review and this is all organized by topic. I’m excited to share that we have a new monthly subscription for Ace The HR Exam, so you can get access to the 60+ hours of review and counting, plus over 1200 test questions. These are also organized by competency and topic, as well as short-form video, long-form video, lecture content. I also have a whole host of digital downloads and other resources that you can access as part of the course. It’s $49.99 per month and you can go to, grab this deal. It’s new, it’s exciting and I love bringing new ways for you to study.

Break: [00:19:40.41] I know that was a fast review, so let’s take a reset while we move into our next segment here at the HR Certification Podcast, which is powered by Workology. I’m your host, Jessica Miller-Merrell. Nice to meet you. Workology also offers HR certification prep courses and resources. We do prep courses for HRCI and SHRM certification as well as recertification offerings. To learn more about our prep courses and resources for HR Certification and recertification, visit It’s the place to go. Workology offers a variety of prep resources, including physical products like flashcards. I have test question flashcards and study guides along with my favorite course ACE the HR exam where we help all different types of learners have a higher pass rate, study less and get more in less time so it’s accessible to you wherever and whenever you are. Our digital courses are always on demand and are also accessible via our very own Workology app, which is available for Android and also Apple iOS. Now before we get back, I want to hear from you. You can text the words “HR CERTIFICATION” to 512-548-3005. Ask me questions, leave comments, make suggestions for future topics for the HR Certification Prep Podcast. I want to hear from you. This is my community text number and this content is only as relevant. As if it works for you. So if you have a suggestion, let me know.

HR Glossary Term(s) – Risk Transfer

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:21:18.49] Moving on. We’re moving into the segment. It’s one of my favorites on the HR Certification Podcast, where we are reviewing and HR glossary term. And we do this for every single podcast episode. These terms are all human resources, terms and definitions that are covered in the knowledge base, whether you are a SHRM or an HRCI exam. I love all my certifications, I really do. So when it comes to becoming familiar with these HR terms that are part of either exam, SHRM or HRCI, it’s important for you to review them repeatedly and using different learning styles, different ways of learning. This is one of the reasons that I created Ace The HR Exam, our signature prep course, because we have audio lessons, we have short videos, we have long-form videos. I encourage notetaking, digital flashcards, physical and digital downloads, and more. It’s so important to vary how you learn. I will encourage you to focus on a single topic or subject matter area. This is really essential to our course. It helps you really hone in on one area instead of trying to review the whole book and like two weeks focus on one area, master that area and then you can move on to things that are still important but less likely to be on the exam. I want you to focus on things that are the biggest opportunity for you and are most likely to be on the exam. This is really the heart of the structure of our review courses.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:22:55.71] Let’s go ahead and move into that HR glossary term review for this episode. For this term, I’m going to start by mentioning the term and a short description. Are you ready? Today, we’re going to focus on a single term and I’m going to repeat that three different times for you. And this falls into our risk umbrella. So I’m keeping it simple. It’s kind of all in the same family. Today’s term is risk transfer. Now, risk transfer is a risk management and control strategy, and this involves the contractual shifting of a pure risk from one party to another. One example is the purchase of an insurance policy by which a specified risk of loss is passed from the policyholder to the insurer. That is risk transfer. Again, risk transfer is a risk management and control strategy. That involves the contractual shifting of a pure risk from one party to another. One example is the purchase of an insurance policy by which a specified risk of loss is passed from the policyholder to the insurer. So that is risk transfer.

HR Test Question Review for SHRM and HRCI Certification Exams 

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:24:29.99] I am now going to move to, honestly, my favorite segment of the HR Certification podcast where we review an HR test question. It is so important to review as many test questions as possible. We do one for every single episode, go back to and grab all the episodes to review. These test questions are covered under SHRM and HRCI. I love all my certifications. We cover the broad knowledge base here, so go back and review those. But before I share the test question, I want to give you a quick review of our HR test question framework. More about this information is available on the Workology YouTube channel, and I’m going to link to that in the video show notes so you can go to the transcript of this podcast over at, click on into the specific episode, and I have all the information that I’ve talked about here. So here are the five steps of that HR test question framework. Step one is to read each question slowly and concisely. Two is to identify the HR competency that the question is being asked about. Three is to eliminate wrong answers. Don’t even think about them anymore. Step four is WWSD or WWHD. That is What Would SHRM Do or What Would HRCI Do. Think about SHRM or HRCI, picture a person writing that test question and select the right answer. Which one would SHRM or HRCI pick. And step five is go with your gut. Always answer every single test question. Just go with your gut if you’re still unsure.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:26:06.44] Let’s get to this episode’s featured HR certification exam test question. All right. Are you ready? I’m going to read this twice. Question: In which type of workforce is entitlement culture appropriate? Is it A) One that has a line of sight to retirement. B) One that continues to show productivity. Productivity increases, one that continues to show productivity increases. C) One that has a skill set that’s in high demand. Or D) One that is highly competitive and completed daily, daily. Okay. I’m going to go back and read this question again. And I’m doing it slow because I want you to think through this and we’ll review the question and the options again. So the question is:

In which type of workforce is entitlement culture appropriate?

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:27:21.37] Our options are:

A) One that has a line of sight to retirement.

B) One that continues to show productivity.

C) One that has a skill set that’s in high demand.

D) one that is highly competitive and completing daily assignments.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:27:53.98] What do you think? Drum roll, please. The correct answer is B) One that continues to show productivity increases, that is entitlement culture. So if you got this question wrong, don’t worry. That’s why we practice, to get better. Make a note for yourself, maybe on some of what we talked about and write it down. And then when you have time, go through your resources to review. I suggest adding this into your daily review. I do have more test questions and you can access them in our test question bank, we have 25 free test questions. Head on over to That’s Or if you’re like you sold me, I love this. Head on over to You can grab our course and get access to all our resources including the 1200 test questions.

Closing: [00:28:56.53] HR certification for me is such an important step in your career and that is for everyone, whether you’re looking to increase your air knowledge base. If you want to gain credibility in your field or even at the office and not to mention increase your income potential. Most importantly, prove to yourself that you deserve to be here. I know you do. You do. So together, let’s elevate the HR profession. That is why I’m here. Thank you for joining me in this episode of the HR Certification Podcast. If we haven’t met, my name is Jessica Miller-Merrell and I help HR leaders ace their HR certification exams. I love this. This is why I do it. Then, let me do the same for you. Workology offers a host of courses and resources to help you ace your HR certification exams. We work with SHRM and HRCI. There’s different courses for each of the certifying bodies. Visit HR Certification Podcast to learn more about how we help HR certification prep, and we do that for the aPHR, the PHR, the SPHR, the SHRM-CP, and the SHRM-SCP exams. Thank you so much for joining us. But if you have questions or suggestions, maybe you’re like, I have a burning question. I want you to cover this information for another episode of the HR Certification Podcast. I got you. Please send me a text. Text the word “HR CERTIFICATION,” I’m using air quotes, “HR CERTIFICATION” to this phone number: 512-548-3005. This is my community text number. I want to hear from you. Thank you so much for your time today. And we’ll see you on the next episode of the HR Certification Podcast.



– 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 

– 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

 – HR Certification Podcast Episode 2: Reviewing Business and Strategy

– HR Certification Podcast Episode 3: Answering HRCI and SHRM Test Questions

– 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

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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