James Dean named on HR Most Influential 2023
Here is James’ experience and reflections on being named in the HR Most Influential list 2023:
In May 2023, I received a random email from an HR publication asking for my email address. Expecting the classic pitch of “Have you ever considered advertising in our magazine,” I was shocked when the email turned out to be an invitation. I was invited to the Imperial War Museum for a champagne reception because I had been named one of HR’s most influential thinkers of 2023.
At that moment, I couldn’t help but think about all the other people I’ve worked with or witnessed doing great things in 2023. I was waiting for an email to confirm that they had made an error or to request sponsorship to stay on the list. However, nothing like that happened.
As it turns out, a couple of people had submitted my name as someone who should be on the list because of the work we do at HRC Online and our efforts to change the online education industry. An independent panel, not connected to HR magazine, reviewed all the submitted names and created a shortlist of individuals they believed were making the most impactful changes in HR. I was included on the list for our work in transforming education within HR.
Even now, this still seems a little strange to me. I’ve been in management positions since I was 18, starting in a call center selling insurance and utilities. Throughout my career, I’ve always believed that success is a result of the team’s efforts, while failure rests on my shoulders. Those who know me understand that I don’t lack confidence, but I’m not fond of putting myself forward for recognition. I often feel that someone else would benefit or deserve it more.
This is probably the first time in my career that I’ve received an individual award, and it’s kind of weird to say, but it has brought about my first crisis of confidence. I’ve always been comfortable in my comfort zone, doing a good job, attributing success to others or the team, and taking the blame if something goes wrong. I’m also known for my occasional (regular) sarcastic comments.
After having this award for a couple of days now, I take it as a compliment to the way I’ve expressed my vision and commitment to changing online education. My vision has inspired others so much that they wanted it to be recognized, allowing us all to move forward together.
So, what is this award-winning vision?
Well, there are two main elements to it. Firstly, I specialize in studying as a subject in its own right. I believe that people who are taught to study in the most effective way possible develop a set of skills that can be applied to almost any job in the world. If I can show someone how to present their point in a way that can be skimmed, speak in a manner that helps key points stick, or use external case studies and references to reinforce their ideas, we can all work in a world where communication and conveying our points become more effective.
The second point focuses on study itself. It involves reinforcing the above principles throughout the CIPD qualification, ensuring that people are 100% prepared for the role this qualification will help them attain. What bothers me is that syllabi change every 7 to 10 years, making content quickly outdated. The CIPD syllabus changed before COVID, and we’ve seen how much the world has changed since then. So, I believe education needs a current affairs anchor, something grounded in the real world that helps translate theory into practice. That’s how LET’S TALK HR! came into existence. We have about 5 tutors involved in developing the core qualification and over 50 specialists who share their knowledge and experience in our live specialist sessions.
When I established this business, I chose HR because I firmly believe that if we train HR professionals in innovative ways of learning, they will integrate elements of our course into staff training, improving on our weaknesses and developing their own innovations. HR professionals are the trainers of the workforce, and they deserve innovation so they can innovate.
It is this core belief in creating HRC Online that I think got me on the HR Most Influential list. I am just as proud of being on the list as I am of getting other people to see the vision I have for the future of online education.
In June, I began exploring AI tutors, which you can see on our YouTube channel. Wouldn’t onboarding be better with more videos and fewer 500-page PDFs?
Take a look at what we’re doing here: https://linktr.ee/hrconline