Royles beat off stiff competition from HR leaders including Kath Durrant, group HR director at Rolls Royce, who came in second. Deborah Baker, HR director at BSkyB, and Geoff Tranfield, group HR director at Petrofac, were named joint third.
The ranking was unveiled last night at a prestigious event at Claridge's hotel in central London, sponsored by research partner Ashridge Business School, HR and payroll company Ceridian, professional services firm KPMG and career management company 10Eighty.
CIPD CEO Peter Cheese named as top UK Thinker for 2013.
The HR Thinker ranking was also hard fought, with CIPD CEO Peter Cheese coming out on top. Second place went to Cary Cooper, distinguished professor of organisational psychology and health at Lancaster University Management School, and third to Adrian Furnham, professor of psychology at University College London.
Engage for Success duo David MacLeod and Nita Clarke were also in the list, coming fourth and 12th respectively.
The 2013 most influential international thinker was author Dan Pink. He came ahead of visiting professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at the London business school, Gary Hamel and author Malcolm Gladwell.
Cheese is new to the field but has made a big impression within HR in the past year. One voter said: "He is the only person in the past 12 months who hasn't regurgitated the same old rubbish."
His award was accepted on his behalf by CIPD deputy chief executive Susannah Clements, who said Cheese's vision was one of the reasons she joined the CIPD.
In the overseas thinkers category, management author Dan Pink came first, with London Business School professor Gary Hamel and author Malcolm Gladwell coming second and third respectively.
Royles stood out among all the entrants for receiving the most votes from both the private and public sector, showing the influence he has across the profession.
One voter said: "Dean is great at looking at the big picture and getting the many, and there are many, stakeholders on side."
Accepting his award for topping the 2013 ranking, Royles said: "It's a really tough time to work in the public sector and it's hard to work in organisations like the NHS to try and get a voice out there, and it's not just about responding to negativity.
"It's important to speak about the importance of people management and what we can do to help our public services and so I'm delighted to be able to use my role to continue to do that."
Every year HR magazine compiles the HR Most Influential ranking: the definitive list of directors and thinkers who have the greatest influence in the field of people strategy.
The ranking is decided by a rigorous process starting out with a long list of hundreds of names made up of people nominated by HR magazine readers, those who have appeared on the ranking in the past and names put forward by the HR editorial team.
These are then checked by an expert panel of HR director headhunters, former HRDs and leading academics.
From this a shortlist is created, and the top names are put forward to our readers. A strict 'one company, one vote' rule is in place.
The full rankings, as well as profiles of the Most Influential practitioners and thinkers, plus news, video interviews and lots more, will be live tomorrow on hrmostinfluential.co.uk