José Raúl Guerrero
President Mexico and Central America
Korn Ferry
Practice Leader and Global Industrial Markets, Korn Ferry
Mariana Herrerías
Practice Leader and Global Industrial Markets
Korn Ferry
View from the Top

Out of Survival Mode and Towards Talent Strategy

By Rodrigo Andrade | Tue, 09/06/2022 - 10:35

 Q: Korn Ferry has been in Mexico since 1970. How has its commercial proposition evolved to the present day?

JG: The company has changed dramatically since its arrival in Mexico. At first, we focused exclusively on hiring C-suite executives but a global evolution has been taking place for the past 15 years. In Mexico and Central America, over 50 percent of our business revenue comes from executive search while the latter half mainly comes from RPOs, consultancy and digital.

The firm is always one step ahead. To that end, we started to invest heavily in purchasing other companies, such as Lominger, Global Novation and Hay, to cover all aspects of human capital. This was a well-planned evolution and we are happy with the development of the company.


Q: How did Korn Ferry grapple with the talent demand generated by COVID-19?

JG: Our profits fell by 35 percent following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic but by prioritizing our strategies we turned the situation around, growing our business and market by up to 150 percent. We also expanded each department, particularly the areas of advisory compensation and assessment, which have skyrocketed.

We are all happy with the development of our team. We have grown from 40 employees to over 270 in the region. We have 13 partners, of which five are under 50 years old and over 70 percent of our management positions are occupied by women. We believe in a diverse world and in empowering women to have leadership roles.

MH: Korn Ferry’s portfolio was key during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, talent attraction was affected because companies were in survival mode but our robust portfolio allowed us to offer our customers a much more integral service in those difficult times.


Q: Preparation, determination, opportunity and inclusion are the core values from which the company operates. How has this approach helped Korn Ferry tackle current demand?

MH: We truly live by these values; they are not just aspirational words, it is truly what keeps us together. Living these values on a daily basis, has been key to being able to retain our key talent both in times of abundance and crisis. Constant communication with our global and local leaders allows us to be close to our people and understand where we are going as an organization. This has allowed us to navigate through difficult times.

JG: The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the work we had been doing during the past 11 years. We made a strong effort to humanize the organization and transform the company from a group of individuals who delivered amazing results into an organization that contributes and rewards individual growth. The company invested in employees during the most difficult times and today we are seeing the results.


Q: How has the proliferation of disaggregated work models influenced the reconfiguration of organizational structures and social cohesiveness?

JG: The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the change in work models. Many organizations were reluctant to adopt remote work and support a work-life balance. In Mexico and Latin America, there was a preference for long shifts and even today many businesses in the region still do not allow for remote or hybrid work.

Younger generations do not want to live their lives in offices and are challenging the traditional way of working. They are putting their convictions first, while understanding the objectives and standards that need to be accomplished at work. Our work as leaders is to guide them and set the framework for work to flow.

MH: At the end of the day, the objectives of millennials are not so different from those of baby boomers. They want to work in well-established organizations, move up the ladder and reach positions that impact people's lives.


Q: How have your clients’ demands evolved in recent years?

MH: People had to collaborate and innovate at work, while simultaneously remaining flexible and agile to adapt to the changing environment.  These past two years have been all about reacting and trying to adapt to changing needs, but we have come to the point, where we actually are able to plan. As an organization, we have the time and resources to plan which new techniques and technology we want to explore alongside clients. Some clients have fully deployed remote strategies but many are not ready to take that step. We work to understand their business model and help them achieve their objectives.

Many sectors are facing talent shortages, which goes hand in hand with retention. Many people are leaving their jobs because they lack purpose, but it is also possible to retrain current employees for emerging jobs, addressing needs that were unheard of just five to ten years ago.


Q: How have human resources roles and responsibilities evolved in the post-pandemic, digital economy?

JG: There is a giant gap between current needs and HR departments, so personnel from sales, finance, strategy and engineering will take more prominent roles in HR. Many HR departments are composed mainly of baby boomers and Generation X with a few millennials, as the latter do not see being in HR as attractive. However, this area is essential for any organization and by not giving it the weight it deserves, employees themselves lose interest in being there.


Q: It has been eight months since the launch of Korn Ferry’s Intelligence Cloud. How has the platform helped clients close their potential gap?

MH: It is still early to draw full conclusions; however, up to this point clients are definitely satisfied as they can integrate all services to strengthen their internal processes. Its not only about data, but also about generating insights per client, which broadens their perspective and helps in their decision making processes.


Q: What are Korn Ferry’s objectives for the Mexican market in 2022-2023?

JG: We will continue to be a reference in the market, truly helping clients with their strategy by bringing them the best talent and changing people's lives. If we continue to do that, results will come on their own. The main purpose of the company is to keep being a human company.

MH: Through our efforts in technological development, we are serving our customers better, making their processes easier and more agile. This will also change the way we work. Technological adoption will drive all industries to improve their decisions and use their time more strategically. 



Korn Ferry is a global consulting firm specialized in the optimal design of organizational structures, roles and responsibilities. The firm has over 10,000 associates working in more than 50 countries.

Rodrigo Andrade Rodrigo Andrade Junior Journalist & Industry Analyst