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Updated May 24, 2024

The Best Human Resources Software of 2024

High-quality HR software solutions help you manage recruiting, onboarding, employee benefits, performance reviews and more.

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Skye Schooley, Senior Lead Analyst & Expert on Business Operations
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A business.com editor verified this analysis to ensure it meets our standards for accuracy, expertise and integrity.
Best for Employee Onboarding
BambooHR
  • Pricing by custom quote
  • Monthly contracts
  • Two plans (plus add-ons)
USALinks to BambooHR
Visit Site
  • Pricing by custom quote
  • Monthly contracts
  • Two plans (plus add-ons)
Best for Risk Mitigation
Bambee HR Software
  • Starts at $99/mo
  • Annual & multiyear contracts
  • Six plans (plus add-ons)
USALinks to Bambee HR Software
Visit Site
  • Starts at $99/mo
  • Annual & multiyear contracts
  • Six plans (plus add-ons)
Best for Payroll
Gusto HR Software
Gusto logo
  • Starts at $40/mo + $6/employee/mo
  • Monthly contracts
  • Four plans (plus add-ons)
USALinks to Gusto HR Software
Visit Site
  • Starts at $40/mo + $6/employee/mo
  • Monthly contracts
  • Four plans (plus add-ons)
Best for Ease of Use
Rippling
  • Starts at $8 per month
  • Monthly contracts
  • Four plans (plus add-ons)
USALinks to Rippling
Visit Site
  • Starts at $8 per month
  • Monthly contracts
  • Four plans (plus add-ons)
Best for Analytics
Paycor
  • Starts at $99/mo + $6/employee/mo
  • Monthly & annual contracts
  • Four plans (plus add-ons)
USALinks to Paycor
Visit Site
  • Starts at $99/mo + $6/employee/mo
  • Monthly & annual contracts
  • Four plans (plus add-ons)

Table of Contents

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At business.com, we strive to provide business owners with unparalleled recommendations for the best business software and services. Every solution we select is thoroughly tested, investigated and vetted independently to ensure vendor claims about products are legitimate and backed by real user experiences. As part of our commitment to fairness and accuracy, each assessment is reviewed by a top business.com editor who was not involved in the analysis process.

To recommend the best HR software, we conducted comprehensive industry research and tried both well-known and lesser-known solutions ourselves. We looked for platforms that could facilitate recruitment, onboarding and offboarding, performance management, benefits administration, time tracking and legal compliance. We also considered whether the vendor offered native payroll processing or would require a third-party integration. Evaluations further took into account user-friendliness and employee self-service tools, as well as the ability for employers to scale their plans up or down based on changes in workforce size. Learn more about our methodology and editorial process.

Manually managing your human resources (HR) functions can be a tedious and time-consuming process. To alleviate those challenges, HR software is available to help streamline recruitment, employee onboarding, time and attendance tracking, payroll and benefits administration, employee performance management, and legal compliance. It also integrates seamlessly into hiring and operational workflows so that HR management is easy for not only HR leaders but all employees.

To help you choose the best HR software for your business, we spent countless hours researching and testing the top HR applications, evaluating each platform on its price, ease of use, valuable features and customer support.

What Is HR Software?

HR software helps businesses recruit, onboard, manage and pay employees. It integrates time scheduling and management tools to organize a company’s workforce. Its payroll features accurately compensate employees, and performance management and reporting tools facilitate and track employee development. When conducting your research about HR software, you likely came across terms like “human resources information systems,” “human resources management systems” and “human capital management.” All of these terms refer to HR software.

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How We Decided

Our team spends weeks evaluating dozens of business solutions to identify the best options. To stay current, our research is regularly updated.

26

evaluated

16

researched

7

chosen

Our team spends weeks evaluating dozens of business solutions to identify the best options. To stay current, our research is regularly updated.

26

evaluated

16

researched

7

chosen

Compare Our Best Picks

BDC Ribbon
Our Top Picks for 2024
BambooHR
Bambee HR Software
Gusto HR Software
Rippling
Insperity PEO Services
Rating (Out of 10)9.59.59.49.49.19.69.3
Best for

Employee Onboarding

Risk Mitigation

Payroll

Ease of Use

Analytics

SMBs

Benefits Administration

Starting monthly price

Based on number of users and selected services

$99, plus a setup fee on some plans

$40, plus $6 per employee

$8 per employee

Based on number of users and selected services

Rates customized per plan

Rates customized per plan

Pricing tiers

2 (add-ons available)

6 (add-on available)

4 (add-ons available)

1 (add-ons available)

4 (add-ons available)

3 (add-on available)

5

Contract

Monthly

6 months, annual or multiyear

Month to month

Month to month

Monthly or annual

Annual or multiyear

Monthly, annual or multiyear

Payroll services

In-house payroll add-on available; third-party integration available

In-house payroll add-on available

In-house payroll included

In-house payroll add-on available

In-house payroll included

In-house payroll included

In-house payroll included

Integrations

130+ and open API

N/A

190+

500+ and open API

300+ and open API

Yes

700+ and open API

Mobile app

iOS and Android

None

iOS and Android

iOS and Android

iOS and Android

iOS and Android

iOS and Android

Customer support

Phone, email and webchat – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. MST (weekdays)

Dedicated HR manager, HR coordinator, business manager, phone, email and chat – 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST (weekdays)

Phone, email and webchat; 6 a.m.– 6 p.m. MST

Email and webchat (plus phone support with HR help desk add-on)

Phone, email, webchat and 1-on-1 support – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST for payroll, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST for other products (weekdays)

Phone and email (A client liason, HR specialist, payroll specialist, benefits specialist, HR services manager, performance specialist, safety consultant)

Phone, live chat, strategic account manager, team of specialists – 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET (weekdays)

Review Link
Scroll Table

Our Reviews

  • Base Price: Custom quote
  • Top Features: Applicant tracking tools, onboarding and offboarding features, platform usability and employee self-service features
  • Trial Period: 7 days
Editor's Rating: 9.5/10
Visit Site

Why BambooHR is Best for Employee Onboarding

BambooHR is a mobile-friendly platform that is ideal for hiring and onboarding employees. When testing the software, we liked how you are able to send electronic offer letters to be signed digitally, and then utilize BambooHR’s document storage capabilities for secure document retention. To enhance your onboarding process, you can set the software to send welcome emails and new-hire packets, as well as assign onboarding tasks. These help your new hires understand what they have to look forward to when starting at your company. BambooHR offers self-service features and the user interface is intuitive, so your new hires can get up and running in no time.

What sets BambooHR apart is its Pro plan: It offers everything you need to source, hire and onboard the best talent. Unlike some competitors, BambooHR includes applicant tracking capabilities so you can find the best employees for your open positions. You can post open jobs, search and filter resumes and cover letters by keywords, and create talent pools full of viable candidates. Once you’ve found the best candidate, you can automatically funnel them into BambooHR’s onboarding process.

BambooHR new hire onboarding templates

BambooHR offers new hire packet templates to help with the onboarding process.  Source: BambooHR

BambooHR Pricing & Plans

Plan Services Optional Add-ons Price
Core HR data and reporting, hiring and onboarding, time off and benefits tracking, integrations marketplace. Payroll, benefits administration and time tracking Custom quote
Pro Everything in the Core plan, plus performance management, employee experience and employee community features Payroll, benefits administration and time tracking Custom quote

BambooHR Advantages

  • BambooHR has applicant tracking tools.
  • All plans include a user-friendly dashboard and employee self-service features.
  • Its highly-rated mobile apps make it easy to manage HR from any location.

BambooHR Disadvantages

  • You must call for a quote.
  • Some users say the software can be expensive.
  • Only Pro plans include performance management features.

User Score

BambooHR received a 8.3/10 rating from users who reviewed the platform on TrustRadius. Customers praised the platform’s usability, implementation process, onboarding tasks and customer support. However, some users noted that reporting capabilities could be more robust.

CHECK OUT OUR FULL BAMBOOHR REVIEW

  • Base Price: $99 per month
  • Top Features: Comprehensive HR audits, custom HR policy creation and a dedicated HR manager
  • Trial Period: 30 days for $1
Editor's Rating: 9.5/10
Visit Site

Why Bambee is Best for Risk Mitigation

Bambee is a human resources outsourcing solution geared toward supplying small businesses (fewer than 500 employees) with custom HR support in a way that helps to mitigate HR risks. We find it especially helpful how Bambee pairs you with a dedicated HR manager or director to meet your specific HR needs. This manager then conducts an HR audit on your organization to quickly identify areas where your business can improve to meet federal, state and local laws and regulations. Bambee works with you to create custom HR policies and procedures that are both legally compliant and match your company culture.

  Bambee dashboard

Bambee’s user-friendly dashboard makes it easy to see and manage upcoming HR tasks.  Source: Bambee

Bambee Pricing & Plans

Number of employees supported Services Price
0 (no employees yet) Access to Bambee HR, email and chat support; four core HR policies; two custom HR policies; and two job descriptions $99 per month (billed annually)
1-4 Access to an HR manager with unlimited phone, email and chat support; four core HR policies; two custom HR policies; and three job descriptions $299 per month (billed annually) with a one-time setup fee of $500
5-19 Access to an HR manager with unlimited phone, email and chat support; four core HR policies; four custom HR policies; and four job descriptions $399 per month (billed annually) with a one-time setup fee of $500
20-49 Access to an HR manager with unlimited phone, email and chat support; four core HR policies; eight custom HR policies; and five job descriptions $499 per month (billed annually) with a one-time setup fee of $1,500
50-70 Access to an HR manager with unlimited phone, email and chat support; four core HR policies; 12 custom HR policies; and five job descriptions $1,299 per month (billed annually) with a one-time setup fee of $2,000
71+ Custom services Custom pricing with a one-time setup fee of $2,500

Bambee Advantages

  • Your organization is assigned a dedicated HR manager who can be reached by phone, email and webchat.
  • Your Bambee HR manager can help you create custom HR policies and procedures.
  • Bambee offers annual and comprehensive audits to help identify HR gaps.

Bambee Disadvantages

  • Bambee can’t support organizations with more than 500 employees.
  • It doesn’t offer mobile apps for iOS or Android devices.
  • Most of its plans charge a setup fee.

Bambee User Score

Bambee received a 4/5 rating from users who reviewed the platform on Trustpilot. Customers praised the vendor for its dedicated HR managers, notably how helpful and accessible they are. However, some users reported pricing to be an issue.

CHECK OUT OUR FULL BAMBEE REVIEW

Gusto logo
  • Base Price: $40 per month, plus $6 per employee per month
  • Top Features: Full-service payroll, automatic payroll tax filing, built-in benefits administration
  • Trial Period: Until you process your first payroll run
Editor's Rating: 9.4/10
Visit Site

Why Gusto is Best for Payroll

Gusto is our choice for the best HR software for payroll. It offers full-service payroll functions, workers’ compensation administration and the Gusto Wallet app, which your employees can use to access their payroll and account information. Gusto can help employers run payroll for employees and contractors in multiple states or countries. For example, Gusto can take care of state tax registration for you, as well as handle exchange rates and payments in multiple currencies. This type of pay assistance is increasingly important as more employers move toward global and distributed workforces.

We like that with Gusto, you have access to unlimited and multistate payroll, tax filing and payments, direct deposit, state and federal unemployment insurance, year-end tax forms, garnishments, multiple pay rates and schedules, PTO policy management, holiday pay and time-off tracking. Gusto offers a variety of comprehensive benefits, so employers can seamlessly integrate those into payroll as well. It also provides reporting, accounting and time tracking integrations; new-hire reporting; and payroll reports.

Gusto platform

When testing Gusto, we found the software easy to navigate and simple to understand. Source: Gusto

Gusto Pricing & Plans

Plan Services Price Available Add-ons
Contractor Only Unlimited contractor payments, four-day direct deposit, 1099-NECs, new-hire reporting $35 per month, plus $6 per contractor, per month International contractor payments
Simple Full-service, single-state payroll, employee profiles and self-service, hiring and onboarding tools, health insurance administration, employee financial benefits, payroll and time-off reports, custom admin permissions, integration capabilities and basic customer support $40 per month, plus $6 per employee, per month International contractor payments, state tax registration, R&D tax credits, Gusto Global, health benefits, retirement savings, and tax-advantaged benefits
Plus Everything in the Simple plan, plus multistate payroll, next-day direct deposit, advanced hiring and onboarding tools, PTO management, time and project tracking, a time kiosk, workforce costing and reporting, team management, performance reviews and employee surveys and insights $80 per month, plus $12 per employee, per month International contractor payments, state tax registration, R&D tax credits, Gusto Global, health benefits, retirement savings, tax-advantaged benefits, and priority support and HR resources
Premium Everything in the Plus plan, plus a dedicated customer success manager, an HR resource center, compliance alerts, certified HR expert assistance, payroll migration and account setup, health insurance broker integration, a R&D tax credit discount and priority support Custom pricing International contractor payments, state tax registration, R&D tax credits, Gusto Global, health benefits, retirement savings, and tax-advantaged benefits

Gusto Advantages

  • Gusto offers comprehensive payroll and benefits administration features.
  • It integrates with more than 190 popular third-party applications.
  • It offers employee, contractor, and international worker payments.

Gusto Disadvantages

  • Gusto doesn’t offer recurring report capabilities.
  • Gusto’s global payments capabilities are only available in limited countries at the time of this review.
  • Adding many features can quickly raise overall monthly costs.

Gusto User Score

Gusto received a 7.5/10 rating from users who reviewed the platform on TrustRadius. Customers praised the platform’s payroll management features like pay calculation, tax forms and filings, pay stubs and benefits administration. However, some users said that Gusto’s customer service left something to be desired.

CHECK OUT OUR FULL GUSTO REVIEW

  • Base Price: $8 per employee per month
  • Top Features: HR workflow automation, intuitive self-service dashboard, app and device management, more than 500 app integrations
  • Trial Period: None
Editor's Rating: 9.4/10
Visit Site

Why Rippling is Best for Ease of Use

Rippling is a one-stop-shop, offering traditional HR features (e.g., recruitment, time and attendance tracking, payroll processing, benefits administration, learning management, PEO, performance management, employee surveys) and less traditional features (e.g., app and device management, headcount planning, global payments, expense management, bill pay). This allows employers to sync and manage all these processes from one centralized platform. We were impressed with how quickly you can get your business up and running with the software — within just four weeks. We also like that you can automate nearly any HR process with the Rippling platform, further streamlining your HR management. To further simplify your HR needs, you can automate other processes, like time and attendance, applicant tracking, and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and COBRA administration. Overall, the Rippling platform is intuitive and easy to use, and it even has a mobile app for iOS and Android devices.

Rippling reporting

Rippling has built-in report templates as well as customizable reporting.  Source: Rippling

Rippling Pricing & Plans

Plan Services Starting Price
Core Global employee graph; global org chart; global workforce analytics; workflow and employee lifecycle automation; role-based permission, approval and policy management; advanced document management; automated compliance management; compensation bands, vacation and leave management, auto-localization for 150+ countries, and workflow studio for onboarding events $8 per user, per month
Pro Everything in Core, plus workflow studio for any event, 10 custom workflows, 10 formula fields and 10 advanced reports Custom quote
Unlimited Everything in Pro, plus webhooks and unlimited workflows, formula fields and advanced reports Custom quote
Enterprise Everything in Unlimited, plus Rippling API Custom quote

Rippling Advantages

  • Rippling can be implemented in less than four weeks.
  • It integrates with more than 500 applications.
  • Rippling allows employers to automate several HR processes from one centralized platform.

Rippling Disadvantages

  • You must pay an additional monthly base fee for the Rippling HR Help Desk.
  • Although Rippling’s Workforce Unity starts at $8 per employee per month, the company doesn’t list pricing for its many other features online.
  • Rippling doesn’t offer a free trial.

Rippling User Score

Rippling received an 8.5/10 rating from users who reviewed the platform on TrustRadius. Customers praised how comprehensive the platform is, consolidating all aspects of HR, benefits and device management into one centralized platform. However, some users noted that costs can add up quickly and they would appreciate a free trial.

CHECK OUT OUR FULL RIPPLING REVIEW

  • Base Price: $99 per month, plus $6 per employee per month
  • Top Features: Intuitive analytics dashboard, robust recruiting and onboarding, easy-to-use mobile app
  • Trial Period: 14 days
Editor's Rating: 9.1/10
Visit Site

Why Paycor is Best for Analytics

With Paycor, we like that instead of offering simple standard reports, users can access various charts and graphs that can be easily digested. Users can view current workforce trends, like head count by employment type, as well as projected trends that are predicted based on past workforce data. You can access charts and graphs on benchmarks and demographics and easily compare multiple organizations or locations. We were impressed with how Paycor lists key drivers affecting certain workforce trends to help you quickly discover ways to improve your organization. With Paycor’s performance management metrics, you can easily track and improve employee performance as well.

Paycor analytics

Paycor breaks down workforce analytics into graphs and charts, which, when we tested the software, we found to be simple to understand. Source: Paycor

Paycor Pricing & Plans (for 0 to 50 employees)

Plan Services Starting Price*
Basic Payroll and tax service, wage garnishments, pay options, off-cycle pay runs, check stuffing, online check stubs, online reporting, additional tax authorities (local and state), new hire filing EVS, on-demand pay, worker opportunity tax credit, and autorun $99 per month, plus $6 per employee per month
Essential Everything in Basic, plus a report builder, general ledger report, labor distribution, month-end accounting package, electronic custom data file, labor law poster, onboarding

time off manager, job costing, 401(k) EDI processing, 360° 401(k) integration, e-verify service, recruiting, Paycor Analytics (basic), and an HR support center

$159 per month, plus $9 per employee per month
Core Everything in Essential, plus an HR support center (on-demand), expense management, employee importing, Paycor HR, COR leadership and employee engagement features $199 per month, plus $12 per employee per month
Complete Everything in Core, plus Paycor Analytics (advanced), career management, compensation planning and talent development $299 per month, plus $16 per employee per month

*Paycor no longer lists pricing online, so actual plan rates may vary.

Paycor Advantages

  • Paycor’s software and mobile app are intuitive and easy to navigate.
  • Paycor offers robust analytics, complete with key drivers and benchmark data.
  • Paycor can compare your workforce data against industry benchmarks to help you assess your strong and weak points.

Paycor Disadvantages

  • Initial implementation takes an average of two to three months.
  • Customer support can be slow to respond at times.
  • Although we listed estimated pricing for Paycors plans for small businesses, the vendor doesn’t list pricing online.

Paycor User Score

Paycor received a 7.3/10 rating from users who reviewed the platform on TrustRadius. Customers praised the platform’s essential HR functions like recruiting, time keeping and payroll. However, some users noted that customer service can be inconsistent.

CHECK OUT OUR FULL PAYCOR REVIEW

  • Base Price: Custom quote
  • Top Features: Hundreds of self-paced courses; accredited by the IRS, ESAC and BBB; experienced customer support, PEO and non-PEO plans
  • Trial Period: None
Editor's Rating: 9.6/10
Visit Site

Why Insperity is Best for SMBs

Insperity stands out as the best HR software for small and midsize businesses (SMBs) because of its comprehensive suite of services, including talent acquisition and management, HR administration, payroll processing, risk management and employee benefit plans. All of these are easily accessible through the intuitive platform. One aspect of Insperity we found most notable in our evaluation is its employee training solutions. It offers access to thousands of resources, including over 300 online courses and other learning materials. We also like that Insperity offers these features via professional employer organization (PEO) and non-PEO plans, making it suitable for SMBs that need a flexible HR solution to accommodate their changing needs.

Insperity dashboard

When testing out Insperity, we found the dashboard, which pops up when users access the software, to be especially user-friendly.  Source: Insperity

Insperity Pricing & Plans

Plan Services Pricing
Full-Service HR for Small Businesses Fortune 500-level employee benefits, payroll and HR, administration, HR-related compliance assistance, personalized HR guidance, all-in-one HR technology Custom quote
Full-Service HR for Middle Market Businesses Competitive employee benefits, scalable HR and payroll administration, risk mitigation and HR-related compliance, professional HR support and consulting, advanced workforce technology and analytics Custom quote
HCM + HR Technology Suite Benefits administration, automated payroll and HR administration, HR-related compliance tools and support, workforce management technology, as-needed support from an HR service team Custom quote

Insperity Advantages

  • Insperity offers hundreds of online courses and learning materials for employee development.
  • The Insperity platform is user-friendly, allowing employees to view pay details, track hours and request time off.
  • Inperity clients have access to knowledgeable and dedicated support specialists.

Insperity Disadvantages

  • Insperity doesn’t list pricing online.
  • Its PEO plan has a five-employee minimum.
  • It requires you to use its in-house payroll solution to qualify for its other HR services.

Insperity User Score

Users who reviewed Insperity on TrustRadius rated it 4.4 out of 10. Customers praised the platform’s onboarding process. However, some users were unimpressed with its pricing.

CHECK OUT OUR FULL INSPERITY REVIEW

ADP logo
  • Base Price: Custom quote
  • Top Features: Competitive carriers, employee self-service, mobile benefits enrollment, PEO and non-PEO plans
  • Trial Period: None
Editor's Rating: 9.3/10
Visit Site

Why ADP is Best for Benefits Administration

Whether you go with ADP for its HR software, HR outsourcing or PEO model, we like how you can access ADP’s robust benefits administration capabilities. The company has connections with major healthcare companies, allowing you to tap into comprehensive benefits with flexible rate structures. If you’re new to the scene, ADP can help you set up your ADP plan and guide you through the benefits administration process. We were impressed with ADP’s array of services such as employee discount programs, open enrollment administration, election changes, dependent and beneficiary tracking, life event processing, absence management, and benefits invoice reconciliation.

ADP benefits

With ADP, you are able to easily navigate employee benefits administration. Source: ADP 

ADP Workforce Now Pricing & Plans

Plan Services Pricing
Select Employee onboarding, payroll and tax filing, document storage, the ADP Assist tool, employee surveys, custom reporting, HR workflows, employee development tracking, a self-service employee portal and employee engagement resources Custom quote
Plus Everything in the Select plan, plus benefits administration features like plan configuration and management, mobile enrollment, invoice auditing and carrier connections, open enrollment and personalized decision support Custom quote
Premium Everything in the Plus plan, plus automated time and attendance features Custom quote

ADP Advantages

  • ADP’s technology is user-friendly for employers and employees.
  • Data is automatically synced between the ADP platform and benefit carriers.
  • It can act as a liaison with carriers for evidence of insurability approvals and help with the reconciliation of carrier error reports.

ADP Disadvantages

  • ADP doesn’t provide pricing information online, so you must contact a representative for a custom quote.
  • It has an employee minimum requirement.
  • It does not offer a free trial.

ADP User Score

ADP received a 7.9/10 rating from users who reviewed the platform on TrustRadius. Customers praised certain features like payroll, benefits administration and time off management. However, some users were not nearly as impressed with their customer support.

CHECK OUT OUR FULL ADP REVIEW

How Much Does HR Software Cost?

The cost of HR software varies depending on the size of your business, your industry and the features you need. Most HR software pricing is based on a per-employee basis, averaging between $5 and $20 per employee per month. Some HR software providers also charge a monthly base fee that ranges from about $40 to $100 per month. Additionally, you may have to pay for extra features, like payroll capabilities, employee benefits and performance management.

Some HR software solutions are priced on a month-to-month basis with no long-term requirements, while others require you to sign an annual contract.

Although free trials and free plans are uncommon with HR software, most companies offer either an online demo or a demo where a company rep will walk through all of the software’s features.

Bottom LineBottom line

The average HR software solution costs $5 to $20 per employee per month, plus a monthly base fee of $40 to $100. Other features, like payroll and employee benefits, often cost extra.

What HR Software Can Do for Your Company

Small business owners and HR professionals know how time-consuming HR management can be. Although employers were previously limited to manually performing HR functions, HR software has automated and simplified the process. Some companies offer specific types of HR software, like those for recruiting, employee scheduling, and time and attendance, while others offer comprehensive HR solutions to handle nearly every aspect of workforce management.

The best HR platforms streamline recruitment, automate onboarding and offboarding, administer and track employee payroll and benefits, and manage employee attendance and performance. Additionally, HR technology can help your company comply with employment and labor laws.

Did You Know?Did you know

HR software with automated workflows not only speeds up your HR processes but also helps you comply with many federal and state regulations. Read our related article on switching to an automated HR system.

These solutions can also provide great insight into your workforce. All HR software offers reports that provide a treasure trove of data that can be used to improve underperforming areas.

Most of today’s HR software is cloud-based. The self-service portals and intuitive dashboards make it easy for employees to take control of HR-related functions, like managing benefits and compensation, requesting time off, and accessing performance reviews.

Standard Features in HR Software

The features available in each HR software package vary, but here are some standard tools that most providers offer.

Recruitment and Onboarding

Tools used to recruit, onboard and offboard employees are found in most HR software. These features include job posting and syndication, configurable job applications, interview and assessment functionality, background check integration, offer-letter templates, new-hire packets, onboarding checklists, e-signature capabilities, workflow automation, document storage, employee profiles, and training tracking.

While some systems include these features internally, most offer a combination of internal features and integrations with third-party platforms, such as applicant tracking systems and top background check services.

Payroll

Most HR software either comes with a built-in payroll option or integrates with top-rated payroll software from a third-party service. Built-in payroll modules typically include the ability to accurately calculate employee paychecks, handle multiple pay rates and schedules, administer garnishments, pay employees via direct deposit and pay cards, and provide online pay stubs. A newer feature offered by some software is on-demand pay, which allows employees to access a portion of their wages the day they earn them.

HR software can handle all payroll tax responsibilities, like calculating and withholding federal, state and local payroll taxes, as well as providing things like electronic 1099 and W-2 preparation and delivery. Most HR software can integrate with top accounting software.

Time and Attendance

Many HR software options include time and attendance features so that employers can accurately track when employees are on and off the clock. Most systems are cloud-based, which allows for browser-based clocking in and out, while many also offer iOS and Android mobile apps for punching in and out remotely. Another useful feature for off-site workers is geolocation tracking, which monitors where an employee is located while clocked in. Most HR software allows for automatic and manual time tracking, as well as shift scheduling, swapping and dropping.

HR software can help manage PTO requests and accruals, and it can offer certain automation and alert features to help you maintain legal compliance with things like break policies and overtime laws. Employee time-tracking data is automatically synced into payroll solutions to streamline payroll processing and increase pay accuracy. [Read related article: Why Your Small Business Needs an Attendance Policy]

Benefits Administration

HR software can help you administer employee benefits, including medical, dental and vision insurance; employee retirement accounts; life insurance; accident and illness policies; short- and long-term disability insurance; health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts; auto and home policies; commuter benefits; workers’ compensation; pet insurance; and miscellaneous coverages. Most integrate with popular benefit carriers to get you competitive benefits and rates.

In addition, most HR software providers will help your employees get the most out of their benefits. Features such as easy plan configuration and ongoing participant education can help simplify the benefits process.

GoCo benefits enrollment

The best HR solutions have features to help you and your staff with benefits enrollment. Source: GoCo

Performance Management

Standard HR software allows you to track and manage employee performance. This can include tools for goal setting and monitoring, succession planning and performance evaluations. Some software also includes personalized dashboards and learning management systems with training courses so you can easily provide mandatory training (e.g., sexual harassment) or professional development training.

FYIDid you know

Ongoing employee learning and professional development can help with employee recruitment, skill level, expertise and retention.

Legal Compliance

HR software helps you maintain audit-ready records and compliance with labor and employment laws such as the ACA and COBRA. Custom workflows and automation features can help you maintain legal compliance, as they reduce the likelihood of human error by ensuring that certain required measures are being followed every time. HR software companies typically offer customer support via phone, email and chat. The best companies also offer a dedicated support representative who can provide HR guidance along the way.

Reporting

Most HR software provides helpful reporting and analytics. Depending on the type of reports you want, you may need to sign up for a more advanced software plan, but basic plans typically provide data on your team, payroll, taxes and more. HR reporting can be a valuable tool for tracking workforce trends and increasing efficiency across your entire workforce.

Rippling payroll reporting

Standard reports such as payroll reports can be a great value-add for employers who want to manage HR costs. Source: Rippling

Self-Service Dashboard

A self-service dashboard allows employees to manage their benefits, request time off and complete performance evaluations. Most systems are cloud-based and offer mobile apps for iOS and Android devices, so employees can access the software wherever they have an internet connection.

How to Choose the Right HR Software for Your Small Business

There are a few key components to address when you’re choosing the right HR software for your business.

  1. Identify which features you require. The right HR software package for your company depends on the functions you want to streamline and how the solution will complement other software programs your company is already using. Some businesses need a comprehensive, full-service HR platform to manage all aspects of HR, whereas others may want specialized software to help with one or two aspects.
  2. Look for important integrations. A key factor to consider is the software’s integration capabilities, primarily if you are already using programs that perform some HR functions. For example, if you need a solution to help onboard and manage employees but want to keep your current payroll system, find employee onboarding HR software that integrates with your current payroll platform. Identify which business platforms you currently use before you choose an HR software program. This will help you select HR software that is compatible with your business’s needs.
  3. Assess the platform’s functionality and support. The software should be intuitive and easy for your whole team to use. Customer support is also important. HR software handles many important functions of running a business, so make sure help is available when you need it, including at night and on weekends. Common methods of communication include phone, email and web chat. Some vendors and plans also include dedicated support representatives.
  4. Compare costs and contracts. Cost and contractual obligations are other key aspects to consider. Some HR software can be used on a month-to-month basis, while other vendors require you to sign an annual contract. Think about how much the software will cost you as your organization and HR needs grow.

Additional Options Worth Exploring

If you are still looking for the right HR software for your business, check out these additional options. Each one has met our standard for excellence.

Paychex Flex HR Software

Paychex offers all of the features you need to manage your in-office or remote workforce. The software integrates with numerous third-party services, which is ideal for customizing a solution that can serve your workforce. We like how the software allows you to track employees’ information regardless of where they’re located and maintain legal compliance through data analytics, general ledger reports and automatic tax forms. It also offers a secure document management center that serves as a centralized location for remote and hybrid employee documents. It supports multiple uploads, in-app signing capabilities, real-time reporting and rule-based restrictions. Learn more in our detailed Paychex Flex review.

Deel

Deel is a global payroll and compliance platform that helps companies hire and pay employees and contractors worldwide. Its best features include automated payroll processing in over 150 countries, seamless integration with popular accounting software, and comprehensive compliance support to navigate international labor laws. Learn more in our detailed review of Deel.

GoCo

GoCo is an easy-to-use software that starts at $5 per employee per month for premium HR features. You can also customize your plan with additional features like benefits administration, payroll, time management, engagement surveys, performance management, recruiting, HR compliance and advanced workflows. It also offers lifetime access to GoCo’s training specialists to help you and your staff get up to speed with the software. Learn more in our detailed GoCo review.

TriNet HR Software

TriNet has a comprehensive HR software platform that has all of the services and features a startup needs to manage its HR needs. It offers multiple plans and add-ons with monthly and annual contracts. This allows a new business to customize a plan to its needs and budget. The cheapest plan starts at just $8 per employee per month, which is competitive with other HR solutions. TriNet’s modern and intuitive user interface is ideal for companies that want to get started on the platform quickly and easily. Learn more in our detailed review of TriNet’s HR platform.

Papaya Global

Papaya Global is a great choice for international businesses. If you have employees in one or more countries, Papaya Global helps manage your global workforce. It currently offers support for workers in more than 160 countries, which is a wider reach than many competitors provide. If you don’t have a physical entity in the country where you are hiring, Papaya Global can act as your employer of record. We like that Papaya Global can run payroll for all worker types and help you automatically pay workers in their local currencies. Learn more in our detailed Papaya Global review.

HR Software FAQs

By automating your HR processes, HR software saves your HR team time that it would otherwise spend manually performing administrative functions. This gives your HR department more time to execute other important tasks. In addition, most HR software helps you comply with federal, state and local laws, which can reduce the possibility of costly legal issues. 

When you’re looking for HR management software, make sure it has all of the functionality and features your team needs. Are you looking for a recruiting, applicant tracking and onboarding solution? Do you need payroll, time and attendance tracking, and benefits administration? Analyze your current HR process to determine which functions you want the HR software to manage.

If the HR software package is missing a few of the features you want, ask the vendors you’re considering if the solution integrates with other platforms that fulfill those needs. Also look for reporting and analytics capabilities to track your processes, a self-service portal for employees to access and manage their information, a mobile app, and great customer support. 

If you are a startup with a few employees, you may be fine handling all of your HR responsibilities manually. However, as soon as your HR functions take up too much time or your business expands, it is time to invest in HR software.

Regardless of your business’s size, HR software is a great way to streamline common core HR tasks, like recordkeeping, payroll and talent management. It is also a great way to help your business maintain compliance with labor and employment laws. If your business needs help with any of these functions, consider getting an HR software solution. If you want someone else to help you manage these functions, you might also consider partnering with a top-rated HR outsourcing service instead.

The best HR software solutions automate and streamline your HR processes. They help with recruitment, onboarding, employee engagement, administrative tasks, time tracking, employee compensation, benefits administration, and compliance with labor and employment laws.

The best HR solutions are cloud-based and intuitive, come with easy-to-use dashboards and mobile applications, and provide quick and responsive customer support.  

Many HR software solutions provide preset service plans, but some companies let you add customizable features. This is a great option for small businesses that need specific HR management functions.

For example, you may be able to add components like payroll, benefits administration, time tracking, performance management, learning management systems, and advanced HR support and advisory services. Some providers even offer industry-specific HR software tailored to each business’s unique needs.

What to Expect in 2024

As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to make its way into the business world, HR professionals — and the software they use — are forced to adapt. In 2024, HR software will morph into AI-powered technology. Its automation will go beyond scheduling, with bots handling everything from recruitment to performance management. HR software will help create personalized learning journeys for each employee and instantly match candidates with open roles based on skills and company culture.

We anticipate that HR teams will become strategists who use HR software insights to predict engagement dips, prevent burnout, and foster a culture of continuous growth. Your HR pros will be armed with real-time data to proactively address issues before they snowball.

And it’s not just about efficiency; HR software will have features that prioritize well-being in 2024. Gamified interfaces will nudge employees toward healthier habits, while AI will flag potential mental health concerns and connect employees with support resources. We expect to see more “mental fitness” perks, like on-demand mindfulness exercises and AI-powered stress management coaches.

Data privacy will remain important throughout the year. Expect robust encryption, clear user consent processes, and an emphasis on explainable AI. Employees will have more control over their data by deciding what’s shared and for what purpose.

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Skye Schooley, Senior Lead Analyst & Expert on Business Operations
Skye Schooley is a dedicated business professional who is especially passionate about human resources and digital marketing. For more than a decade, she has helped clients navigate the employee recruitment and customer acquisition processes, ensuring small business owners have the knowledge they need to succeed and grow their companies. In recent years, Schooley has enjoyed evaluating and comparing HR software and other human resources solutions to help businesses find the tools and services that best suit their needs. With a degree in business communications, she excels at simplifying complicated subjects and interviewing business vendors and entrepreneurs to gain new insights. Her guidance spans various formats, including newsletters, long-form videos and YouTube Shorts, reflecting her commitment to providing valuable expertise in accessible ways.
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