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HR Most Influential 2023 ranking is live

The HR Most Influential 2023 ranking of the UK’s top HR practitioners and thinkers is now live, following a dazzling event at London’s Imperial War Museum.

Launched 17 years ago, HR Most Influential celebrates the very best in HR.

It prizes individuals’ contributions to best practice, their efforts to improve the profession and how they strive to make the working world better for everyone.

Rankings for 2023 were unveiled at London’s Imperial War Museum on 29 June.

Each person on the list was nominated by their peers and the final ranking was completed by HR magazine in partnership with Hult International Business School (Ashridge).

Check out the full HR Most Influential 2023 ranking here

Bertie Tonks, chief people officer at travel services provider Collinson, took the top spot on the HR Most Influential 2023 practitioners list.

The HR Most Influential 2023 thinkers list was topped by Carol Woodhams, professor of HR management at University of Surrey.

In her acceptance speech, Woodhams said what an honour it was to have been nominated for and to have topped the list.

She said: “I'm extremely grateful for that, but none of us so-called thinkers would be thinkers without the practitioners, because it's you guys that provide for us the context, the information, the data, the access that we need.”

Four incredibly influential individuals were inducted into the HR Most Influential Hall of Fame this year, including the top-ranked practitioner and thinker for 2022. 

Sharon Benson, HR director at Lloyds Pharmacy Clinical Homecare, Perry Timms, founder of PTHR, and Simon Fanshawe, partner of Diversity by Design, were inducted after consistently ranking on the HR Most Influential list.

For his outstanding contribution to the world of work encapsulated in his role as principal associate at the Institute for Employment Studies (IES), Stephen Bevan was also inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Bevan’s colleague, IES senior research fellow and HR Most Influential thinker Zofia Bajorek, accepted the accolade on his behalf as he is undergoing palliative care for cancer.

Bajorek said: “As someone who has been managed by, worked with and mentored by Steve for 10 years, I know that it is his ability to connect with policymakers, academics and employers alike, and explain complex issues in such an easy, but eloquent way that makes Steve truly special.”

She then read out Bevan’s acceptance speech.

On his behalf she said: “It's a huge honour to have made it onto the Hall of Fame, especially given the distinguished names which make up the list already.

“I've had the privilege of working with a great many HR researchers and practitioners over my 40-year career and it has been so stimulating and inspiring to have learned so much from them all and in a small way giving something back to the development of innovations in HR policy and to practice some of my own evidence and insight.

“It is the promotion of informed debate involving both researchers and practitioners, which I think has been one of the many achievements of HR magazine and its excellent team deserves much credit for its work to promote evidence-based practice.

“So long may it continue to be a catalyst for debate and information sharing in the thriving and energetic community of HR professionals, which the UK is so lucky to have nurtured in recent years.”

This year's list was comprised of more than 50 HR practitioners, academics and consultants.

Find out who made the list and why with our interactive display here.