The 10 Most Influential Chief People Officers to W...

Marcus Thompson: A Journey of Service, Leadership, and Advocacy

The 10 Most Influential Chief People Officers to Watch in 2024

Step into the world of Marcus Thompson, the quintessential Chief People Person at Chatham Oral Surgery, PC where service is not merely a duty but a way of life, and leadership is not a title but a calling. With a tapestry woven from over 22 years of experiences in the People Business, Marcus is a maestro orchestrating harmony in both corporate corridors and community endeavors.

Beyond the hallowed halls of Chatham Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Marcus dons the entrepreneurial hat as the luminary behind Makai Consulting, LLC. Armed with a toolbox brimming with HR solutions, Marcus navigates the labyrinth of small to medium-sized businesses, offering respite from the tumultuous seas of recruiting, payroll, and termination woes and more.

But Marcus is not merely confined to the realms of commerce; his political mettle shines brightly through his endeavors. From the trenches of President Biden’s triumphant campaign in 2020 to the strategic maneuvers alongside Trish Brown for the Board of Elections in 2022, Marcus’s fingerprints are evident on a number of local electoral triumphs. A steadfast advocate, Marcus stood shoulder to shoulder with other boots on the ground teams that pushed Senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff to victory, catalyzing change in the Georgia political landscape in 2020 and 2022.

Yet, Marcus’s heart beats loudest in service, echoed through his myriad board memberships and organizational affiliations. Whether steering the ship at Radiant Church or charting the course at Chatham Oral Surgery, PC, Marcus’s stewardship leaves an indelible mark. A pastiche of roles adorned his journey — from the experiences with Family Promise to the Board of the Bryan County NAACP, Marcus weaves a narrative of empowerment and inclusivity.

As an esteemed member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and an alumnus of the illustrious Leadership Savannah Class of 2020-2021, Marcus embodies the ethos of service and leadership. Yet, amidst the flurry of accolades and endeavors, Marcus remains grounded in the sanctuary of family.

Attracting and Retaining Top Talent 

Marcus’s talent strategy is comprehensive and focused on ensuring that only the most qualified candidates are selected, leading to better cultural fit and retention rates. His approach involves several key steps:

  • Resume Review: Marcus starts by reviewing each candidate’s resume to understand their background and qualifications.
  • Screening: He conducts an initial screening to assess the candidate’s skills, experience, and fit for the role.
  • Second Screening: A second screening, whether virtual or over the phone, helps further evaluate the candidate’s suitability.
  • Shadowing Interview: Marcus brings vetted candidates into the office for a shadowing interview, allowing them to experience the workplace culture firsthand.

Marcus goes the extra mile by creating a SWOT analysis for each final candidate, highlighting their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, which he then shares with the hiring partner. This thorough approach enables Marcus to determine if a candidate will be a culture add or a culture fit for his client, regardless of their level or position. His retention strategy begins before a candidate is hired, with transparent communication and regular updates throughout the hiring process. Once hired, Marcus ensures that new employees are fully onboarded and provides ongoing support through 30, 60, and 90-day reviews. He also collaborates closely with the operations team, CEO, and/or owners of the organization to ensure that new hires have a voice within the organization and receive the necessary support to succeed.

Marcus’s strategies have proven effective in attracting top talent and retaining them, ultimately benefiting both his clients and the organization as a whole. He understands that profitable growth begins and ends with the people entrusted to help build and maintain the business.

How to ‘People Differently’ and why it is powerful.

Marcus’s approach to leadership emphasizes the importance of envisioning a different perspective and guiding others to see it too. He believes in the power of “People Differently,” which involves exploring ways to enhance the work lives of employees. One strategy Marcus recommends is implementing quarterly reviews instead of yearly reviews. Quarterly reviews offer several benefits, including faster correction of issues, better recall of achievements, actionable feedback, improved goal-setting, decreased focus on compensation, new employee support, and culture building.

Another strategy Marcus suggests is investing in professional development and leadership training for team members. While this may require a moderate investment, the benefits include enabling a growth mindset, improving productivity, fostering innovation, increasing team engagement, and developing self-esteem.

By implementing these strategies, businesses can demonstrate to their employees that they are valued and that their growth and development are important. This not only enhances employee satisfaction and retention but also contributes to a more positive and productive work environment overall. Marcus’s leadership philosophy emphasizes the importance of nurturing and supporting employees to reach their full potential.

Overcoming Skepticism

Marcus recognizes the importance of salesmanship in people development, especially when it comes to selling individuals on their own value and worth. He has encountered team members who initially viewed professional development or prioritizing their well-being as futile endeavors due to feelings of unworthiness. In such instances, Marcus emphasizes the importance of overcoming skepticism and effectively conveying belief in someone’s potential.

During his campaign for office in 2022, Marcus came across a quote from Star Trek that deeply resonated with him. The quote by Dr. Leonard McCoy highlights the uniqueness and significance of each individual in the vast cosmos. Marcus believes that embracing this notion underscores the importance of every person he leads, fostering a people-centric leadership approach. By believing in the value of each team member, Marcus aims to enhance their sense of self-worth and prioritize their well-being and development. This perspective creates a culture of understanding and support within the team, ultimately leading to greater collective success.

Approach to Catering to Team Needs

Marcus emphasizes several key elements when implementing strategies for a positive working environment:

  • Affability: Fostering positive relationships among team members creates a supportive and welcoming atmosphere, boosting morale and productivity.
  • Clear Communication: Open, honest, and transparent communication helps prevent misunderstandings, builds trust, and ensures alignment among team members.
  • Meeting Team Members Where They Are: Recognizing and catering to the unique needs and preferences of individual team members enhances their engagement and satisfaction.
  • Understanding That Change Takes Time: Creating a positive working environment is a continuous process that requires patience and persistence. Realistic expectations and a long-term mindset are essential.
  • Buy-in from All Stakeholders: Achieving buy-in from leadership, managers, and team members is crucial for successful implementation. When everyone is committed to the same goal, overcoming challenges becomes easier.

By focusing on these elements, organizations can cultivate a workplace where team members feel valued, respected, and motivated to perform at their best. Marcus acknowledges that not all elements may be present simultaneously but emphasizes that progress in any area sets the direction for leadership within the team.

Building Trust and Camaraderie

Marcus’s vision for Chatham Oral Surgery extends far beyond traditional client relationships. With a firm belief in the value of meaningful connections and partnerships, Marcus aims to create a supportive and collaborative environment for both the surgeons and the team members.

At the core of Marcus’s approach is his dedication to building strong relationships with the partners, Drs. Wilson, Hinchey, and Benton. While some may view this as crossing a professional line, Marcus sees it as essential to fostering trust, collaboration, and mutual respect. By considering the partners not only as colleagues but also as friends, Marcus creates a foundation of trust and camaraderie that enhances teamwork and morale.

The surgeons of Chatham Oral Surgery are exceptional individuals who demonstrate a deep commitment to their practice and their teams. Marcus recognizes their thoughtfulness, consideration, and unique wit, which contribute to a positive and supportive work environment. By alleviating HR and operational burdens from their plates, Marcus enables the Surgeon-Owners to focus on their passion for oral surgery and patient care.

Marcus’s vision for Chatham Oral Surgery is to be a trusted partner and advisor, helping the Surgeon-Owners achieve their professional goals while creating a space for team members to be heard and valued. Through strategic HR support and streamlined processes, Marcus ensures the continued success and growth of the practice, empowering everyone to thrive in their roles.

Marcus’s approach exemplifies the power of meaningful connections and collaborative partnerships in driving success and fostering a culture of excellence at Chatham Oral Surgery.

Genuine Belief in People

As the owner-operator of Makai Consulting, LLC, Marcus’s vision for the future of Chatham Oral Surgery is deeply rooted in the well-being and prosperity of the entire team. Recognizing the significant pressures faced by the surgeon partners, Marcus is committed to providing a supportive and nurturing environment where every team member can thrive.

With a genuine belief in the people of Chatham Oral Surgery, Marcus aims to create a workplace where each member feels valued and supported. He understands the importance of addressing not only professional needs but also personal well-being, including payroll, benefits, and retirement plans.

Marcus’s commitment extends beyond the professional realm; he strives to build meaningful relationships with every team member, serving as a mentor, counselor, and supporter. Whether celebrating milestones or providing support during challenging times, Marcus is dedicated to fostering a sense of belonging and care within the team.

Through his leadership, Marcus envisions Chatham Oral Surgery as a place where team members feel supported, valued, and motivated to excel in their roles. By creating a nurturing environment, Marcus aims to ensure that every individual can reach their full potential and contribute to the success of the practice.