The 11 Best HR Software Tools For Small Businesses
With the countless options out there, how do you know which is the best HR software tool for your specific business needs? Here we’ve got you covered.
Bonus material: Class is in session. Learn game-changing lessons from world-class experts like Chris Voss, Marie Forleo, James Clear, and more.
You know it’s time to invest in a human resource (HR) tool when time-consuming employee records wreak havoc on your department.
But with the countless options out there, how do you know which is the best HR software tool for your specific business needs?
To make your evaluation as easy as possible, I reached out to my network on what they like and dislike about the HR software tools they’re using, and distilled everything I’ve learned in this guide.
Let’s start solving your HR headaches!
11 Best HR Software Tools For Small Businesses
Here are 10 HR tools categorized into three main groups: HRIS, HCM, and HRMS.
At their core, these three different HR systems share the same big goal: To simplify employee management.
But, zoom in to their specific software features, and you’ll notice the subtle differences:
Important note: Many of these HR software providers use these terms interchangeably.
For instance, Zoho People, an HRMS tool, lists itself as an online HRIS on G2.
In another example, Zenefits positions itself as an HCM tool on its website. But if you review the tool in detail, you’ll notice it offers payroll services — which is a feature of HRMS tools.
That said, take everything with a grain of salt!
Be sure to clarify with the customer support rep about the specific features you’re looking for.
It can’t hurt to double or even triple check.
Human Resources Information System (HRIS) Software Tools
Looking to build a great employee experience? You’ll want to use an HRIS tool to organize and manage your employee information.
Sit back and relax! Handling compensation management and employee training are going to be a walk in the park from now on.
Pricing: Starts at $19 per month for 15 employees, $29 per month for 30, and $49 per month for up to 100 employees. Grab the $149 lifetime deal for all Deskera’s features with — HR, CRM, accounting, invoicing, and inventory — everything to run your business.
Deskera is best as a team with Books, CRM and People modules as your starting lineup, but individually they’d each make the all-star squad.
Known for its integrated suite or accounting, they have not sacrificed on feature depth and functionality for their HR module, People. Generate payroll and payslips in a few clicks, employees can view their payslips, apply for leave and file their claims and expenses online. Their simplified billing means calculating your payroll software cost is not a moving target.
- Integrates natively with Deskera’s Books and CRM – so e.g. recording and paying sales commissions is not a last-day-of-the-month mad scramble
- Feature rich
- Simplified billing for 1. up to 15, 2. Up to 30 or 3. Up to 100 employees
- Competitively priced – especially the lifetime deal
- Beautiful UI
Cons: Other than payments (Dwolla, Veem, Paypal, Stripe) and Zapier, it’s light on integrations.
Best For: Companies trying to reign in their growing complexity with a simple, integrated tool.
Pricing: Starts free. Paid plans start $5 per employee per month.
GoCo, the “Quickbooks of HR”, is a modern platform built with flexibility in mind — it integrates with your existing payroll provider without requiring you to change the way you work.
Explore the platform, and you’ll discover it does more than a typical HRIS system. For starters, its interactive organizational chart (which totally screams HCM) allows you to easily onboard new hires and get them on the same page about the company’s hierarchy.
With GoCo, you never have to respond to a “Who should I report to?” email from a clueless new employee again.
- Sleek organizational chart
- Smooth onboarding process
- Excellent range of integrations
- Top-notch customer support — every GoCo customer gets a dedicated customer success manager
Cons: Minor lag issues.
Best For: Small and medium businesses looking for a flexible HR platform to complement their existing processes and software providers.
Human Capital Management (HCM) Software Tools
You’ve got a big goal in your business, and you need top talents to accomplish it. But first, you need to attract them to join your team.
Luckily for you, these HCM tools help you to acquire and keep these dream talents for good.
Pricing: Starts $8/employee a month when billed annually. Zenefits currently offers free full-service payroll for a year for select HR subscription plans.
Zenefits is an award-winning people operations platform that works well for small and large companies — and performance management is one of its standout features.
Launch your review cycles with the HCM tool’s pre-made industry-standard templates and appoint those in charge of completing the review. When you’re done, set a schedule, assign the due date, and you’re good to go.
The user experience at Zenefits is so simple and straightforward that even a first-time user will have no trouble navigating it. The same goes to its onboarding experience:
When I tinkered with Zenefits, it just felt so intuitive with no stress-inducing learning curve. It has an employee onboarding template complete with manager check-in tasks and compliance forms. It also has fully customizable slides that are perfect for orientations and refresher training.
Antti Alatalo, CEO & Founder of Smart Watches 4 U
- 360º performance management
- Clean and straightforward interface
- Great variety of integrations
- Short learning curve thanks to its excellent training materials
Cons: Inconsistent customer service. Users report that response can sometimes be on the slow side.
Best For: Businesses of all sizes that want a simple and intuitive tool to manage and automate their HR workflow, especially in onboarding and performance management.
Pricing: Custom quotes. Workday requires you to drop them a message via their contact form.
Workday makes hiring top talent a fuss-free process.
This one-stop talent management platform also offers other features like payroll and workforce management, but it particularly shines in talent acquisition.
With Workday, you can quickly evaluate different candidates in different stages: Interviews, background checks, etc.
It also supports a collaborative hiring process. You can effortlessly gather feedback from the hiring team via Slack and Microsoft Teams, making bouncing ideas off each other a speedy process:
Working with agencies before Workday was an arduous process. Workday has a simple interface where you can view candidates that agencies send us. It also allows us to maintain payments, break clauses, and hiring bonuses for each agency we use. Our remote listings attract over 250 applicants per vacancy; this HR software saves my sanity.
Adam Korbl, Founder and CEO of Ifax App
- High volume hiring
- Hiring team collaboration
- Great recruiter and candidate experience
- Insightful dashboard for reports and employee reviews
Cons: Steep learning curve. First-time users report it takes time to get used to the platform.
Best For: Businesses of all sizes that want to attract new hires and build amazing teams.
Human Resource Management System (HRMS) Software Tools
If you’re looking for a comprehensive HR hub that does everything — and I mean everything — you’ll want to invest in a reliable HRMS tool.
Mark our words, these three tools will transform how you manage your employees and deliver an exceptional experience.
Pricing: Starts $4.95 per employee per month.
BambooHR needs no introduction.
This SaaS tool is packed with rich key features that simplify all HR-related tasks such as absence management, employee benefits administration, and onboarding.
Don’t let the simplicity fool you. It does a stellar job at helping your HR teamwork more efficiently:
BambooHR has streamlined our entire HR department, but especially our hiring process. What used to take weeks to months has been cut in half. Our process is far more organized now.
Dan Bailey, President of WikiLawn
- Applicant tracking system
- Employee self-service portal
- Paid time-off tracking
- Excellent reporting
- Extensive integration thanks to its open API with existing HR tech vendors
Cons: Mobile app lacks certain functionality (e.g. some forms can only be accessed on the web app). Fortunately, the developers are hard at work at adding more features!
BambooHR is not the cheapest option around. However, at $4.95/employee per month, you get what you pay for — a well-organized, visually appealing tool that’s simple to set up and run.
Allan Borch, Founder of Dotcom Dollar
Best For: Small and medium-sized businesses streamlining and automating their HR tasks in a user-friendly tool.
6. Zoho People
Source: Zoho People
Pricing: Free (with basic HR functions) for five users. Paid plans start $0.83/user/month when billed annually.
Zoho People is synonymous with powerful organization.
This HRMS tool does all kinds of HR tasks you can think of — manage training programs, send offer letters, update personal information, handle shift schedules, to name a few — and it does them smoothly.
There’s little to dislike about this tool. Zoho People is a great asset when it comes to managing the entire employee lifecycle.
- Leave tracking
- Employee data management
- Extensive customization of forms
- Seamless integrations
- Advanced analytics
Cons: Buggy mobile app and customer support can be on the slow side.
Best For: Businesses of all sizes that want to streamline their entire employee lifecycle.
Pricing: Basic plans start at $19/month + $6/month per employee.
Here’s an HRMS tool that works for both business owners and HR professionals.
On the one hand, Gusto is so user-friendly to the point that anyone with basic IT skills can navigate around. On the other, it offers such robust features (see below) that will delight any payroll manager.
Its valuable COVID-19 resources score them an extra brownie point.
- Full-service payroll solutions
- Health benefits management
- Support from certified HR experts
- Great integrations
- Impressive collection of add-ons (e.g. commuter benefits)
Cons: Wait time for customer service can be long at times, though their in-depth knowledge of the product makes up for it!
Best For: Small businesses looking for a full-service payroll software that owners and HR professionals can use.
Other HR Technology Tools (AppSumo Edition)
Hear us out, these tools may not fit in the traditional-HR-software box, but they’re incredibly helpful when managing a team and raising their productivity. Let’s see if we can find what you’re looking for!
Pricing: Starts free. Paid plans start $6/month for each employee. Grab the Peoplebox lifetime deal on AppSumo today for $49.
Peoplebox’s geared towards businesses that take pride in one-on-one company culture. From updating your OKRs with a single click and tracking new employees’ performance reviews, this AI-driven remote team management tool is the world-class sidekick to every HR manager.
- OKRs tracking
- Continuous check-ins
- Real-time feedback
- 1-1 meetings
- Clean interface
- Personalized talking points for managers and employees
- Advanced analytics to drive improvement in team performance
Cons: Few integrations. Current ones only cover Gmail, Outlook, and Slack. You can request your integrations here.
Best For: Remote and distributed companies that want to increase employee engagement with 1-1 meetings and regular check-ins.
Pricing: Starts free. Paid plans start $15/month for five team members. Grab the Agiled lifetime deal on AppSumo today for $59.
If you don’t want to hop from one software provider to another when running your different business tasks, then Agiled is for you.
This all-in-one (and white-label) business management tool offers great HR features such as payroll management and attendance and leaves tracking.
Each team member also gets their portal to manage their personal and payroll information, saving your HR team huge chunks of time.
- Employee attendance
- Time tracking
- Dedicated employee portal
- Excellent UI
- Lightning fast customer support
Cons: No automation and limited integrations. However, the company is working on these features right now!
Best For: Businesses that want to host everything — from creating professional contracts and sending invoices to sharing files with clients and tracking employee performance — in a single platform.
Pricing: Starts $4 per month for an employee annually. Grab the free TimeTrack plan on AppSumo today.
Frustrated by your employees slacking off? If so, TimeTrack is the perfect tool for you. Its keystroke tracking, app and URLs monitoring, and screenshots features help you monitor your employees’ activity and manage them accordingly.
TimeTrack even generates payrolls, to boot.
- Employee monitoring
- Time tracking
- Clean interface
- Excellent customer support
Cons: Few integrations, though Apploye is launching integrations for Zapier and ClickUp soon!
Best For: Remote companies that want to monitor their employees’ performance and productivity.
Pricing: Starts $5 per employee per month.
Say hello to Hoppier, a stipend management platform where you offer customized perks to employees.
This may not be your traditional HR tool, but it’s an important one nonetheless. If you’re looking to raise team morale, Hoppier is it.
- Easy to use. Set up takes minutes and doesn’t require administrative burden
- Huge variety of perks (e.g. family care stipend for baby equipment for employees with young children, subscriptions to meditation apps, home office supplies, etc.)
Cons: No integration with hiring and payroll HR tools for now. (Hoppier has shared with me that they’re launching it this year.)
Best For: Businesses that want to increase employees’ well-being without spending hours in administrative tasks and dealing with vendors.
Which HR Management Software Tool Will You Pick Today?
Whether you’re an HR manager or a small business owner handling HR tasks on your own, these HR software solutions are vital to your success.
There are no one-size-fits-all HR solutions. An HRMS with a learning management system that works for a mid-sized company will probably be an overkill for a new small business that’s only looking to manage their employee benefits — and vice versa.
I hope this guide has helped with your evaluation! To recap, here are the 10 best human resource management tools we’ve covered:
- Deskera: Companies trying to reign in their growing complexity with a simple, integrated tool. Grab the $149 lifetime deal for all Deskera’s features on AppSumo today.
- GoCo: Small and medium businesses looking for a flexible HR platform to complement their existing processes and software providers.
- Zenefits: Businesses of all sizes that want a simple and intuitive tool to manage and automate their HR workflow, especially in onboarding and performance management.
- Workday: Businesses of all sizes that want to attract new hires and build amazing teams.
- BambooHR: Small and medium-sized businesses streamlining and automating their HR tasks in a user-friendly tool.
- Zoho People: Businesses of all sizes that want to streamline their entire employee lifecycle.
- Gusto: Small businesses looking for full-service payroll software that owners and HR professionals can use.
- Peoplebox: Remote and distributed companies that want to increase employee engagement with 1-1 meetings and regular check-ins. Grab the Peoplebox lifetime deal on AppSumo today for $49.
- Agiled: Businesses that want to host everything — from creating professional contracts and sending invoices to sharing files with clients and tracking employee performance — in a single platform. Grab the Agiled lifetime deal on AppSumo today for $59.
- TimeTrack: Remote and distributed companies that want to monitor their employees’ performance and productivity. Grab the free TimeTrack plan on AppSumo today.
- Hoppier: Businesses that want to increase employees’ well-being without spending hours in administrative tasks and dealing with vendors.
So, which HR management software are you going to use today to supercharge your employee performance?
Sound it in the comments below.