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Zenefits Review

Skye Schooley
Skye Schooley

Zenefits is a transparent platform for small businesses to outsource their HR needs. It has three preset service plans and multiple add-on features, so employers can create an HR solution that best meets their needs and budget. Zenefits clearly states pricing on its website, so you know exactly what the comprehensive HR solutions will cost. Every plan comes with core HR features, time and attendance tracking, integrations and mobile app capabilities. Select plans include advanced features (e.g., compensation management, performance management, employee engagement surveys), which can be a great way for startups to train and manage their teams. Zenefits offers a 14-day free interactive demo, so you can test out the features before committing to the service. For these reasons and more, Zenefits is our choice for the best HR outsourcing solution for startups.



The Verdict

Zenefits offers an easy-to-use payroll system that enables you to run payroll in four steps. Making manual adjustments, such as including bonuses, is easy when running payroll as well.


Pricing/Value 9.8
Features 8.5
Expertise 8.7
Ease of use 9.3
Customer support 8.5
Editor's score 9.0

Zenefits Pricing and Terms

Zenefits offers three base HR plans (Essentials, Growth and Zen) that have tiered features and pricing. Each plan is charged per employee per month, and users can choose between month-to-month or annual pricing. Unlike many competitors, Zenefits offers a 14-day free interactive demo. As of May 2021, Zenefits also offered free payroll for a year with select plans.

Businesses that are looking for the most basic HR tools can choose the Essentials plan for $8 per employee per month, billed annually. The Growth plan is similar to the Essentials plan, with the addition of compensation and performance management features, and costs $14 per employee per month, billed annually. The most comprehensive HR package, called the Zen plan, is $21 per employee per month, billed annually.

The plan variety and transparent pricing are ideal for startups that are looking for HR assistance on a budget. You can also add features such as payroll ($6 per employee per month) and advisory services ($10 per employee per month). Benefits administration is free if you use one of Zenefits' certified brokers and choose an annual plan. Or, you can use your own broker for just $5 per employee per month.

Zenefits has a five-employee minimum for pricing. You can still use Zenefits if you have fewer than five employees, but you will be charged for five employees. This minimum is standard for the HR outsourcing industry.

Bottom LineBottom line: Zenefits costs between $8 and $21 per employee per month (billed annually), and you can add on payroll, benefits administration, and advisory services for additional fees.

Zenefits Features

Zenefits users can take advantage of several human resources tools and features to manage their employees, run payroll and administer employee benefits. The company's preset plans and add-on features allow you to create a customized solution with all of the features you need.

HR Services

Every Zenefits plan comes with core HR services. These include hiring and onboarding tools, like automated offer letters (templates and customizable), comprehensive background checks, electronic tax documents (W-4s and I-9s), e-signatures and account provisioning. Users also have access to document management capabilities for things like company policies, employee handbooks and noncompete agreements.

Zenefits' intuitive website and mobile apps allow for employee self-onboarding, thereby freeing up your team to focus on other HR tasks.

Zenefits offers automated workflows for tasks such as promoting, transferring or terminating employees. Having an automated process for key employee events can be a great way for startups to improve efficiency, reduce errors and maintain legal compliance. 

Time and Attendance, Payroll, and Taxes

Every Zenefits plan comes with time and scheduling features; for example, you can create paid time off (PTO) policies, manage time-off requests, set blackout dates and automatically calculate PTO. With Zenefits' in-house payroll add-on service, you can conveniently integrate this data into your payroll. The add-on service also handles your payroll processing, and allows for varying schedules and pay rates, direct deposit, wage garnishments, tips reporting, and general ledger reporting.

Users can run payroll with Zenefits.

Employee Benefits Administration

Zenefits gives you flexibility in administering employee benefits; you can use one of Zenefits' broker partners or your own benefits broker. This choice gives startups the flexibility they need to find the best broker to fit their budget. If employee benefits administration is your top priority, you may also want to check out our review of ADP

Zenefits lets you administer benefits through one of its broker partners or your own broker.

Risk and Compliance

Maintaining legal compliance can be a challenge for any business, especially small startups that don't have a dedicated HR department or legal team. Zenefits can help you with risk management and legal compliance by automating HR functions that you would otherwise have to manage on your own. For example, Zenefits can provide automated workflows, deadline alerts, automatic tax-form filing and new-hire reporting.

Zenefits can also help you safely store all essential HR documents, maintain Affordable Care Act compliance, and automatically send mandatory notices and alerts. All Zenefits users can access the Compliance Assistant platform to monitor compliance status and track deadlines.

TipTip: For additional assistance with HR compliance, add Zenefits' Advisory Services to your HR plan.

Employee Training and Development

With the Zenefits Growth and Zen plans, users gain access to additional features, like compensation and performance management, which can be key elements in ensuring your startup employees successfully grow with your business.

For example, instead of simply guessing how much an employee should be paid, you get anonymized salary data that can be used to create accurate salary benchmarks, thereby ensuring you are paying your team appropriately based on their job and experience. It is also a great way to set salaries for new hires when your startup begins to expand.

Although startup team members often wear many hats, it is important to manage their performance and create clear career paths for them. Zenefits helps you do this by offering goal management tools, customizable performance review templates (manager, peer and 360-degree reviews) and one-on-one meeting tools. Data from your performance management tools is automatically integrated across the Zenefits platform.

Zenefits offers a variety of review options to manage employee performance.

Zen plan customers can access even more tools to ensure employee success, such as well-being assessments, triggered alerts, custom and prebuilt employee engagement surveys, and People Hub, a centralized collaboration and communication platform.

Ease of Use

Zenefits is a simple online dashboard that can be accessed from any internet-connected device. Employees can also use the mobile app, available for iOS and Android devices, for on-the-go HR management.

Zenefits syncs all data in real time, so whenever an employee or administrator makes a change on the platform, it is automatically updated across all devices and platforms, thus keeping everyone on the same page.

With Zenefits' 14-day free interactive demo, you can view preloaded data to get firsthand experience with the platform. There is also a tutorial wizard that walks you through the features.

Zenefits' demo and tutorial wizard allow you to browse the platform risk-free.

Analyzing reports and data is a great way to monitor and improve your startup. Zenefits offers reports on a variety of topics, like compensation, equal opportunity, headcount activities, stock options granted and turnover rates.

Adding to Zenefits' ease of use are its integrations with more than 40 third-party applications. There is a good chance your startup is already using other business platforms, so having the ability to integrate them with Zenefits can further simplify your human resources management. 


One potential limitation of Zenefits is that you have to sign up for a minimum of five employees, so keep that in mind if you are a very small startup with only a couple of employees. You can still sign up for Zenefits if you have fewer than five employees, but you will be responsible for paying for the five-employee minimum.

Customer Support

Zenefits has several educational tools and resources – including checklists, guides, e-books, articles and templates – to help you answer your HR-related questions. If you need additional support, you can fill out an online form to have a member of Zenefits' support team contact you, or you can add on Zenefits' Advisory Services for unlimited advisor access. If having a top-notch customer support team is essential to you, you may also want to check out our review of TriNet, which is our pick for the best HR outsourcing service for customer support.

Image Credit: fizkes / Getty Images


The Verdict

Zenefits offers an easy-to-use payroll system that enables you to run payroll in four steps. Making manual adjustments, such as including bonuses, is easy when running payroll as well.

Skye Schooley
Skye Schooley Staff
Skye Schooley is a staff writer at and Business News Daily, where she has written more than 200 articles on B2B-focused topics including human resources operations, management leadership, and business technology. In addition to researching and analyzing products that help business owners launch and grow their business, Skye writes on topics aimed at building better professional culture, like protecting employee privacy, managing human capital, improving communication, and fostering workplace diversity and culture.