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Reviews

Best HR Software

As a small and largely remote staff, our team is familiar with finding solutions to help us better manage ourselves. Human resources can get subjective and complex in modern businesses. After weeks of testing and research, we found Rippling to be the best option for most. It’s one of the most powerful pieces of HR software out there, packed with helpful automations, analytics, and ways to manage your organization’s people, benefits, and payroll.

The Best HR Software for Most

Rippling logo

Rippling

Best for Most

Powerful in all aspects of HR, Rippling delivers a solution that makes managing payroll, people, benefits, and more a cinch. See everything you need on one dashboard, automate anything you can think of automating, and improve your processes for anything from new hire onboarding to benefits administration.

Rippling is a great piece of software for improving your organization’s management of HR and execution of HR strategies. Everything gets easier on this platform, from recruiting and hiring new talent to running payroll, administering benefits, training your employees, and ensuring compliance.

Better still, it has some of the best automation capability we’ve seen in this software category. Set nearly any kind of trigger event you can think of and you’ll be able to put notifications, adjustments, reclassifications, and even delivery of key materials on autopilot. The possibilities for improvement are massive with Rippling.

The Best HR Software Options to Consider:

  1. Rippling – Best HR software for most
  2. BambooHR – Best for first-time users of HR software
  3. Gusto – Best HR system for growing small teams
  4. Insperity – Best HR software for simplicity
  5. TriNet – Best HR software for micro-businesses
  6. Zenefits – Best HR tool for managing benefits
  7. Paycor – Best system for payroll management
  8. ADP Workforce Now – Best for real-time analytics

When It Makes Sense to Invest Into HR Software

If you have employees, HR software is a smart investment, especially if you’re not sure how to handle HR yourself, you don’t have time to do it on your own, or you don’t have an in-house HR team.

There are a lot of moving parts to HR, but the right simplifies those moving parts into something manageable, even for users who aren’t HR pros.

The biggest reason small businesses invest in HR software is to save time. If you find yourself spending too much time performing HR activities or worrying about compliance, the right software can provide some much-needed relief.

Another surefire sign is losing employees or consistently handling frustrating experiences surrounding benefits.

Investing in HR software is an excellent and cost-effective way to manage employee benefits and even offer better benefits packages while digitizing selection and management processes.

It can also help with managing PTO. Many HR tools offer a self-service portal where your team can log in to see how many hours they have, when they’re allowed to use it, and request time off. It puts your employees in control of their benefits, time off, and more.

Lastly, investing in HR software can bolster your business for future growth. If you’re starting to hire a lot of new team members or are feeling overwhelmed by the number of employees you have to manage, HR software can relieve some of that pressure by streamlining hiring and onboarding plus simplifying employee tracking, and introducing automation into your growing business.

#1 – Rippling — The Best HR Software for Most

Rippling logo

Rippling

Best for Most

Powerful in all aspects of HR, Rippling delivers a solution that makes managing payroll, people, benefits, and more a cinch. See everything you need on one dashboard, automate anything you can think of automating, and improve your processes for anything from new hire onboarding to benefits administration.

There aren’t many HR tools as powerful as Rippling. From a single piece of software, you get fine-tuned control and management of every facet of your organization’s human resources.

This is a platform that can give you incredible visibility into your people, payroll, and benefits management alongside fantastic time-saving automations.

Let’s start with the employee lifecycle. In just 90 seconds, you can:

  • Onboard a new hire
  • Promote an employee
  • Offboard an employee leaving your organization

Rippling makes this possible by streamlining the many discrete elements that are involved with each of the above. For example, with onboarding, Rippling helps you by creating an offer letter, handling background checks, providing training materials, entering the new hire into your payroll system, setting up their tools and software (like a Slack or Zoom account), and more.

Onboarding gets even easier, too, with the built-in learning management system in Rippling. You can make employee training and compliance oversight a breeze with the bevy of tools in this single facet of Rippling’s software.

This platform also helps you recruit better candidates with the help of one-click posting to a plethora of job boards and customizable hiring processes. Plus, it plays nicely with calendars like Outlook, iCal, and Google Calendar for easy scheduling and notifications.

You can even streamline things further by setting up automations. Set any sort of trigger (there are a wide array of options) that will make a sequence of automated actions spring into motion. For example, you can improve compensation fairness by setting alerts to be sent if a type of employee isn’t making the same money as their peers in your org chart.

Payroll is a cinch with Rippling as well (as it should be with any good HR software), but it’s enhanced further by robust time and attendance tracking features. Plus, Rippling’s payroll features can even handle some of the tougher elements for you, like state and local taxes and filing new hire forms.

Truly, having Rippling handle your payroll and other HR aspects means you’ll never have to worry about disconnects between these facets or, worse, costly mistakes.

Best of all? You can get Rippling for as little as $8 per user per month. That’s a steal, but be advised that you may need to pay more to utilize the full breadth of some of the features we mentioned above.

Regardless, you’re going to get some of the most powerful HR software out there at a better price than you’d think. Reach out to Rippling today to get started on a free quote for your organization.

#2 – BambooHR — The Best for First-Time Users of HR Software

BambooHR logo

BambooHR

Best for Beginners

A simple and effective HR management software with more than 19,000+ customers including Grammarly, ZipRecruiter, and Postmates. Comes with advanced user roles, recruitment and new-hire onboarding, detailed reporting, automated workflows and approvals, e-signatures, PTO management, and more.

BambooHR comes with all HR essentials plus more advanced features like granular user roles, new-hire onboarding, automations, electronic signatures, PTO management, time tracking, payroll, and then some.

Despite its wealth of powerful features, it’s simple, effective, and incredibly easy to use.

From onboarding your existing team and onboarding new hires to setting up admins and managers, the entire interface makes getting started and everyday use a breeze.

BambooHR

If you’re manually running payroll or calculating and filing payroll taxes, BambooHR’s full-service payroll option can help lighten the load, speed up the process, and reduce human error.

In just three clicks, you can automatically calculate & deduct payroll taxes, review your entire team’s paycheck, and send them out. Plus, BambooHR will even file federal and state taxes for you so you don’t have to lift a finger.

Or worry about the complexities of filing payroll taxes again.

When you’re ready to grow your team, BambooHR can help streamline the talent acquisition process, including finding, evaluating, and hiring the right employees. It comes with an extensive applicant tracking system (ATS) to help you manage and organize your applicants as well.

But the benefits don’t stop there. Once you’ve found the right people, the software helps simplify onboarding and new-hire paperwork, too.

Furthermore, you also get access to a ton of helpful features, including things like:

  • Extensive employee records
  • Comprehensive reports & analytics
  • Automated workflows and approvals
  • E-signatures for easy new-hire paperwork
  • Paid time off and time tracking
  • Performance management

With that said, BambooHR’s mobile app isn’t quite up to par. With such an intuitive desktop interface, we expected a bit more. Hopefully, new UI updates roll out sooner rather than later.

BambooHR offers an Essentials package that includes everything you need to get started. Alternatively, you can choose the Advantage package for more advanced features.

Also keep in mind that payroll services are an added expense.

Get a free quote to learn more about BambooHR’s pricing and to see if it’s right for you and your team today!

#3 – Gusto — The Best for Growing Small Businesses

Gusto logo

Gusto

Best for Growing Small Teams

Get everything you need to manage and process payroll, onboard new employees with ease, and ensure compliance with local, state, and federal regulations. Includes access to a team of HR experts, benefits administration, and advanced reporting capabilities. Pricing starts at $40 + $6 per employee per month.

Gusto is a payroll and HR solution that’s easy enough for a business owner to manage on their own.

We like it for small businesses because it is affordable and eliminates dozens of HR pain points. Make onboarding effortless for managers and create a great impression on new hires.

Gusto does a nice job of managing all aspects of human resources for employers, especially in terms of benefits administration, time clock tracking, and employee surveys.

Gusto

The best part is that you can get access to HR experts to answer your questions, anytime. From compliance and taxes to risky situations, Gusto’s team of experts is ready to help guide your business forward with the care and knowledge you need.

All while preparing your business with the systems it needs to bolster growth.

As such, you get peace of mind and reassurance that you’re always following the rules, regardless of how often they change.

On top of that, they’ll help you develop a thorough employee handbook that functions as a key guiding document throughout the growth and evolution of your business.

Gusto makes it easy to:

  • Generate useful reports
  • Automatically onboard new employees
  • Manage employee benefits
  • Process and manage payroll

So, you get everything your small business needs to prepare for growth without any of the fancy, hard-to-understand features you don’t need until you’re ready for them.

Pricing starts at $40 + $6 per employee per month for Gusto’s Simple package. This includes single-state payroll capabilities, onboarding tools, and the fantastic employee self-service portal.

Upgraded plans include multi-state payroll, PTO management, time tracking, and additional support with HR.

You do not have to sign a long-term contract with Gusto. It’s a very competitive price that helps companies solve a number of HR problems with a single tool. Grow your business, not your tech stack–try Gusto today.

#4 – Insperity — The Best for Simplifying HR

Insperity logo

Insperity

Best for Simplifying HR

Want to outsource HR activities so you don't have to worry about making mistakes while doing it yourself or hiring someone in-house to do it for you? Insperity's the way to go. With it, you can offload as much or as little as you'd like with flexible HR plans built specifically for small businesses with a more accessible price point.

Insperity’s strengths match up well with the small business that wants to offload all HR tasks and activities to a third party. Rather than doing the heavy lifting yourself or hiring someone in-house to do it for you, Insperity’s team takes over right where your team stops.

You’ll have access to all of the basic HR services here, as well as benefits packages and payroll processing.

You also get excellent customer service—some of the best in the industry. They work hard to make sure you have the answers to any questions you need.

Insperity

From benefits administration and payroll to payroll, talent management, and new-hire onboarding, you can choose to offload as many activities (or as few) as you’d like.

Insperity’s small business solutions are incredibly flexible to match your needs and your budget.

As an HR service provider with an HR software arm, Insperity may have more features than you need. Outsourcing also means sacrificing a bit of control since you’re inviting an outside party into your business. Which… may not be a bad thing, depending on where you’re at and what you need.

If you want to keep HR management as simple as possible by outsourcing the majority of the work, leaving you with only minimal tasks to do through the HR software, Insperity does the trick.

Reach out to Insperity’s sales team to learn more and see if it’s right for you today!

#5 – TriNet — The Best for Extremely Small Businesses

TriNet logo

TriNet

Best for Small Businesses

Most HR tools are overkill (or not enough) for very small businesses with just a handful of employees. But TriNet merges the best features of a PEO with a strong HR software package, giving your small business the resources it needs to deliver excellent HR management results and high-quality benefits to your team.

If your business needs the best of both a PEO service and HR software, TriNet will give you excellent results. With no minimum employee requirements, it’s a great choice for even the smallest of businesses looking for a better way to manage HR without hiring in-house.

It offers a multitude of specialists to help with your human resources needs, many of whom are experienced in your industry.

So, you never have to worry about industry-specific HR issues getting in your way.

TriNet

From talent acquisition and risk management to employee benefits, payroll services, and HR consulting, you get a complete package with everything you need. However, one of the downsides of TriNet is that it’s not as flexible as other HR tools because it’s more of a PEO solution.

But the beauty of a PEO agreement is that your team can access better (and more affordable) benefits packages you wouldn’t otherwise qualify for on your own.

So, it’s a win-win for everyone.

TriNet’s HR technology and software work hand-in-hand with its team of HR experts to deliver a seamless HR experience for your business and your team.

#6 – Zenefits — The Best for Complete Benefits Management

Zenefits logo

Zenefits

Best For Benefits Management

Zenefits is one of the easiest HR software packages to use with the best mobile and desktop portals we've seen. But it doesn't skimp on delivering a robust feature-set, including generous benefits coverage your team will love with curated options and simplified elections.

As a small or midsize team, access to great employee benefits can be a costly endeavor (or even impossible) because of the size of your team. However, Zenefits simplifies benefits management and makes it easier than ever for businesses of all sizes to unlock the benefits they deserve.

From simplifying benefit elections during onboarding to curating the best healthcare options based on your location and delivering additional wellness programs, it’s an excellent choice if you’re looking for a better way.

Plus, you’ll find it easier than ever to attract qualified candidates who stick around longer when you offer attractive benefits packages to take care of your team.

Zenefits

With Zenefits, you can curate and create benefits packages, including:

  • FSAs and HSAs
  • Commuter benefits
  • 401(k) retirement programs
  • Supplemental benefits
  • Life insurance
  • Disability insurance

Even if you don’t have an in-house HR team or benefits specialist, Zenefits is easy for anyone to use. Plus, it takes care of compliance so you don’t have to wonder if you’re doing it wrong.

To get started, all you have to do is choose the plans and programs you want to offer, invite your existing team to enroll, and send new hires through a guided onboarding process that helps them choose the best benefits for them.

It takes just a few minutes to get comfortable as an administrator and your team will love how easy it is to onboard themselves.

Because Zenefits is an all-in-one HR tool, its features and value go beyond employee benefits. You’ll also enjoy complete hiring and onboarding flows, document management, org charts, time management (including PTO), and compliance alerts.

Regardless of the plan you choose, benefits administration through Zenefits is included at no additional charge for all annual plans.

With plans starting at just $8 per employee per month, it’s accessible for even the smallest of businesses.

Zenefits offers three pricing tiers to choose from, depending on the features you need, including:

  • Essential: $8 per month per employee
  • Growth: $14 per month per employee
  • Zen: $21 per month per employee

There are also add-ons for payroll ($6 per month per employee), advisory services ($8 per month per employee), and benefits administration using a third-party broker ($5 per month per employee).

#7 – Paycor — The Best for Payroll Management

Paycor logo

Paycor

Best for Payroll Management

From taxes at the local, state, and federal levels to overtime, labor laws, and actually paying your team, payroll is a complex beast (especially if you don't have in-house HR). Paycor helps simplify and automate the process with built-in compliance so you can focus on running your business.

For the small business owner who wants strong payroll management services from the best HR software, Paycor provides a great starting point.

Paycor certainly can simplify other aspects of HR management in your business, but its core and strongest features involve handling payroll.

Paycor

When you are looking for help with hiring and onboarding, Paycor has a strong feature set in these areas too, greatly simplifying the process of tracking job applicants. Obtaining the information needed for onboarding a new hire goes quickly with Paycor’s streamlined process.

However, if your business offers anything but the basics for employee benefits, Paycor may struggle to keep up with what you need. Pricing isn’t as easy to understand as it should be either.

Pros

  • Delivers outstanding payroll management features
  • Will help you with hiring and onboarding new employees
  • Web portal interface is well-designed

Cons

  • Doesn’t handle nontraditional employee benefits tracking well
  • Customer service is below average 

Base Pricing

  • Basic: $99 per month to start
  • Essential: $149 per month to start
  • Complete: $199 per month to start

#8 – ADP Workforce Now — The Best for Tracking Analytics

ADP Workforce Now logo

ADP Workforce Now

Best for Analytics

Keep your business on track from both a performance and human resources standpoint with the detailed real time analytics found in ADP Workforce Now. With a world-famous brand name running behind the scenes, you can rest easy knowing your business is in good hands (with the stats and analytics to prove it).

As your SMB grows, tracking your business’ performance and the HR department’s performance can become challenging. ADP Workforce Now has you covered in this area, as its real-time analytics tracking ensures you can study your performance from a multitude of angles.

For those who must manage HR services while out of the office, ADP’s well-designed web-based interface carries over into its mobile app.

ADP Workforce Now

Onboarding employees and enrolling them into the benefits plan is easy with ADP as well.

Workforce Now is made for those businesses with 50 or more employees. Smaller organizations will want to consider RUN Powered by ADP instead.

Either way, you will have to subscribe to a higher-priced tier to receive HR management services, as ADP’s basic services focus on payroll generation.

Pros

  • Easy-to-use web and desktop portal
  • Tracks business data in real time
  • Simplifies the process of enrolling new employees in the company’s benefits plans

Cons

  • Pricing could be easier to understand
  • The best HR features are only offered in the higher priced tiers

Base Pricing

  • Must obtain an individual pricing quote

Methodology For Choosing The Best HR Software

As you compare the items on our list of the best HR software, you’ll find a variety of features to consider. However, not all of these features will add value for your business. You don’t want to be paying extra for features that you don’t really need. 

Think about the features that are most important for your business’ human resources needs. Then focus on an HR software service that delivers those above all else. Here are the features we emphasized when selecting our list of the best HR software services.

Cost

With HR software, you could encounter a few different types of costs, including:

  • Setup fee
  • Monthly base fee
  • Monthly fee per employee tracked
  • Percentage of total company salaries paid each month
  • Extra fees for extra features

Some HR software packages will require that you agree to a 12-month contract for service, while others will operate on a month-by-month basis. If you agree to an annual contract, you may receive an introductory discounted monthly base fee for a few months, or you may receive a month or two of service with no base fee.

Employee Portal

With an employee portal in the HR software, you’ll be able to save a lot of time answering questions from employees about the status of their benefits. Employees can check their information any time they want through the portal. They also may be able to schedule vacation days or enroll in programs like retirement plans.

Hiring and Performance Tracking

When it’s time to hire, some types of HR software can help you track applicants, manage the hiring process, collect information for employee enrollment, and schedule training sessions. 

Once the employee is onboarded, your HR software should track employee performance, schedule quarterly or annual reviews, and monitor whether the employee is reaching his or her goals. 

Mobile App

Some types of HR software give companies a mobile app through which the HR administrator can make changes to the plans from anywhere. This is an especially helpful feature for those HR administrators who don’t spend a lot of time in the office.

Monitoring Benefits

HR software that helps you manage your employees’ benefits plans will greatly simplify the amount of work you need to do with these plans. 

If your business has some nontraditional employee benefit plans, look for an HR software package that gives you the ability to customize the software to match the way you need to track these features.

Payroll Management

Many types of HR software packages will allow you to run your payroll, automatically calculating the amount of time each employee has worked and the proper salary. The HR software then will submit payment to the employee through the desired method, including cutting a check or making a bank account deposit.

You may have a separate payroll software package already. If so, look for an HR software that’s compatible with your current payroll software or consider switching to an HR software package that can take over your payroll duties.

Security

HR departments must track extremely sensitive data about the company’s employees. The company must protect this data, or it could face some significant problems.

When the HR software exists in the cloud, the HR software provider will be able to apply significant security measures, giving you a higher level of protection that you probably can achieve on your own with hardware on your premises.

Tracking Time Off

One benefit that employees find especially important is the tracking of sick days and vacation time. If the HR department makes a mistake in the amount of vacation time an employee has accumulated, the employee is going to be extremely upset.

HR software should track all of this information automatically for you, catching data entry mistakes and ensuring all employees can see exactly what their vacation time and sick days look like.

User Permissions

The administrator of the HR software may be able to set up user permissions, only allowing those accessing the software to see the parts of the software that they need to do their jobs. This is a valuable tool when multiple people will be using the HR software.

Rippling logo

Rippling

Best for Most

Powerful in all aspects of HR, Rippling delivers a solution that makes managing payroll, people, benefits, and more a cinch. See everything you need on one dashboard, automate anything you can think of automating, and improve your processes for anything from new hire onboarding to benefits administration.

Summary

The best HR software exists to help you save time, reduce costly errors, and centralize information into one platform while giving your employees the support they need to continue moving forward.

Our top pick for most businesses is Rippling. It comes with everything you need, including recruitment tools, onboarding workflows and processes, time-saving automations, and much more.

But that doesn’t mean it’s the perfect fit for everyone.

So, don’t forget to use the criteria above as you sort through making the best choice for you, your business, and your team.


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