May 6, 2024

Best Human Resources (HR) Software for Small Businesses in 2024

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My top picks for the best human resources (HR) software for small and medium businesses are:

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1 Rippling

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Rippling is the first way for businesses to manage all of their HR, IT, and Finance — payroll, benefits, computers, apps, corporate cards, expenses, and more — in one unified workforce platform. By connecting every business system to one source of truth for employee data, businesses can automate all of the manual work they normally need to do to make employee changes.

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2 BambooHR

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BambooHR is an award-winning HR platform that helps your growing organizations automate, centralize, and connect your people data all in one place. It gives you a one stop shop to manage data, hire talent, run payroll, and help employees grow.

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3 GoCo

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Elevate your HR with a modern, easy-to-use HRIS designed for small businesses. GoCo is a secure, compliant hub for sending, digitally signing, and organizing your sensitive HR documents and data. Manage records, performance, time off, onboarding, benefits, and more – all in one place. With the best support in the industry, every GoCo customer is assigned a dedicated Customer Success Team that is readily available to provide guidance and ensure a smooth and reliable HRIS experience.

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4 Paycor

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Paycor’s HR software modernizes every aspect of people management, which saves leaders time and gives them the powerful analytics they need to build winning teams. Paycor provides a full suite of HCM solutions with a single source of truth for employee data, so users never have to switch platforms, log-in to multiple systems, re-key data or open multiple spreadsheets. Everyday processes become simplified, allowing organizations to focus on their most important work.

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5 TalentHR

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Employee lifecycle. Self-service time off. People analytics. Do it all and more with TalentHR, the singular platform designed to speed up your HR processes. Easy to set up, even easier to use, and with all the features you need, you won’t find a better value HR tool. Enjoy an org that always runs according to plan—even when it’s the 4th of July. Start free, no credit card needed, and upgrade for $2/user.

Learn more about TalentHR

Check our HR Software Guide for a complete list of platforms to fit your unique needs.

What is the best HR software for small and medium businesses?

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) need HR software to automate repetitive HR tasks, consolidate employee records in one place, and support broader company goals. My roundup focuses on versatile all-in-one HR solutions to satisfy your tactical needs, plus features to support your increasingly strategic people operations as you grow.

Overall score Starting price* Ideal employee count**
BambooHR 3.67 out of 5 $250/mo. for first 25 employees 1–300 Visit BambooHR
TriNet HR Platform 3.66 out of 5 $8/employee/mo. 5–300 Visit TriNet
Rippling 4.01 out of 5 $8/user/mo. 2–2000 Visit Rippling
Paycor 3.70 out of 5 $99/mo. + $5/employee/mo. 1–1,000+ Visit Paycor
UKG Ready 3.98 out of 5 Contact sales. 2–1,000+ Visit UKG

*Starting prices based on discounted annual billing, if applicable.

**These are estimates based on the vendor’s breadth of features and capabilities.

May 6, 2024: Irene Casucian verified pricing for each vendor, checked the availability of new features, and updated the copy to improve the page’s readability.

Feb. 26, 2024: Jessica Dennis reevaluated our top choices for 2024 by running them through an objective scoring rubric focusing on specific products, not vendors. As a result, ADP fell from the best overall, with BambooHR earning best for small businesses and Paycor earning best for midsize companies. Namely was removed from the list, and UKG Ready was added.

Jessica also provided fresh analysis, up-to-date product information, and vendor pricing.

My research focused on your top-of-mind concerns like scalability, integration support, and price. Below is a breakdown of the categories I used to grade each platform. Each category also includes my expert score, which contributes to its overall score.

​​As the market changes, I reevaluate my choices so you always receive the best insights for your purchasing decision.

User reviews: 10%

User reviews from third-party software platforms like Capterra, G2, and TrustRadius accounted for 10% of the software’s overall score. I focused on software that received at least 3.5 out of 5 stars on these sites. Because users have real-world experience with each platform, they played a significant role in narrowing down my list of top products to compare.

Pricing: 15%

Pricing accounts for 15% of the weighted score. Software with transparent pricing, scalable tiers, discounts, free trials, and free plans received the highest scores. I also considered each platform’s “value for money,” which determines whether the number of features in each price tier or module is competitive with other vendors in the space.

Platform and interface: 20%

How easy is the platform to use? Will it be able to grow with the company? What is the customer service like? And will employee’s data be safe? This category covers the solution’s intrinsic features and offerings, including how well it will integrate with your current tech stack and its support for strategic HR functions. This category represents 20% of the platform’s total score.

Core HR: 15%

Core HR covers the basics of HR software, including its core HRIS and analytics functionality. Software with robust employee recordkeeping features, onboarding/offboarding workflows, and customizable reports and dashboards earned the top marks. Core HR comprises 15% of the software’s total score.

Workforce management: 25%

Workforce management includes payroll, benefits administration, and time and scheduling features. Because these are some of the most critical functions of HR, workforce management is weighted the most at 25% of the platform’s overall score. The best software offers native functionality for all of these modules, plus automations and self-service features to reduce your HR team’s administrative loads.

Talent acquisition: 7%

As your company grows, you’ll need HR software with native recruitment features to address your talent needs. HR software with a basic ATS, candidate sourcing, screening tools, and interview management capabilities scored the highest. I also considered ease of use and support for advanced functions, like automations, in my expert score. Talent acquisition makes up 7% of the total score.

Performance management: 8%

Midsize companies look for effective performance management modules to help develop employees and keep them working toward large-scale company goals. As a fundamental part of employee retention, this category represents 8% of the platform’s overall score. I considered each software’s support for basic performance appraisal cycles, goal tracking, and engagement surveys.

Software reviewed

  • RUN Powered by ADP.
  • Gusto.
  • TriNet HR Platform.
  • BambooHR.
  • Namely.
  • Rippling.
  • Paycor.
  • Zoho People.
  • Connecteam.
  • UKG Ready.

BambooHR: Best for small businesses


Pros

  • Pre-built workflows for automating repetitive HR tasks.
  • Basic applicant tracking system (ATS) for occasional hiring needs.
  • Easy-to-use time-off management to promote consistency and fair practices.
  • HR mobile app for on-the-go workforces.

Cons

  • Payroll, benefits, and time tracking are add-ons not included in either plan.
  • Support for payroll and benefits administration is limited to the U.S.
  • Lacks native scheduling capabilities for shift workers.
  • Need to purchase its Advantage plan to access onboarding and eSignature features.
The BambooHR logo.

Our Rating: 3.67/5

BambooHR is a human resources management system (HRMS) that markets itself as a solution for small and medium business needs. However, its simple user interface (UI), extensive integration library, and pre-built HR workflows make BambooHR a clear winner for small business HR.

What makes BambooHR stand out?

BambooHR is easy to navigate. It adopts a series of horizontal tabs to access various HR modules, including your company’s employee directory and recruitment processes, making it simple to switch between different workflows. 

BambooHR has one of the most info-rich homepages. It allows you to customize the homepage with widgets vital to you, like your team and company announcements. For example, managers can use the Who’s Out widget to adjust workloads and expectations based on attendance. Expanding the widget lets you see more granular information, like the complete time-off calendar for the month.

BambooHR has features that acknowledge small business needs and challenges. Most workflows are plug-and-play, so you don’t have to start from scratch. It also includes ready-made fillable forms for critical documents like W-4 and I-9 forms, plus out-of-the-box reports on salary history and paid time off (PTO).

What are BambooHR’s limitations?

BambooHR lacks advanced customization and automation options. This makes it unwieldy with higher headcounts since some modules still require significant manual data entry and is a major pain point for mid-to-large companies growing quickly. Here are some examples:

  • Its ATS doesn’t offer automated decision tools to help with candidate pipeline movement, which is especially important in high-volume hiring. 
  • You can’t configure charts and graphs to visualize people data for calculated decision-making, like labor costs between various entities over time. Instead, you’re limited to pre-defined graphics on standard HR metrics like turnover and headcount.

But if you’re a small business, you might prefer BambooHR’s hands-off, no-fuss modules and workflows that are a step up from tracking tasks, paperwork, and leave management in an Excel spreadsheet.

Did you know?

BambooHR continues to upgrade its software and expand its product offerings as it moves toward more advanced HR support. Within the last year alone, BambooHR added electronic data interchange (EDI) carrier connections to its benefits administration module to rival competitors like TriNet HR Platform. New features for the start of 2024 include custom field builders and eCards for employee birthdays and work anniversaries.

BambooHR’s commitment to refining the platform ensures it remains intuitive and modern. You can check out how it stacks up against others in other software roundups below:

Employee self-service

Like many HR software, BambooHR offers employee self-service features so employees can access their employment information, such as: 

Using the self-service feature means employees no longer need to contact their manager, HR department, or office administrator to access their data. 

This feature particularly stands out for its range of functionality. For instance, frontline workers can use BambooHR’s mobile app to clock in and out of shifts, request time off, sign company paperwork, and access the company directory — all from the app’s homepage. This alone made it one of my top favorite HR apps for mobile.

The relative ease enables non-tech-savvy employees to find critical information quickly. Details like accrued PTO balances and task lists require zero clicks since they are displayed on the home screen.

Meanwhile, more advanced users with the right access controls have options to customize and organize their homepage widgets to their preferences. They can

  • Customize their self-service experience and rearrange their homepage widgets. 
  • Modify the tab arrangement of their employee profiles and edit fields, like their address, without submitting change request forms to the HR department.
BambooHR's mobile app homepage displays a button to clock in, available vacation hours, and a prompt asking the user to provide feedback on their company.
Employees can quickly clock in and out for shifts plus view time off information directly from BambooHR’s mobile app homepage. Source: BambooHR
Set-up, implementation, and training

Besides its easy-to-use interface, BambooHR takes minimal time to set up because it has:

  • Standardized automations for onboarding, offboarding, job pipeline management, notifications, access controls, and approval flows. 
  • Video tutorials and an in-depth knowledge base to help you get the most out of the system.

In fact, if you have fewer than 20 employees, you can set up BambooHR through its QuickStart process, which provides videos and training guides to get started. But if your small business doesn’t have an IT team or the time to tweak the system how you want, BambooHR offers a dedicated HR software implementation team to onboard you within four to six weeks.

Compared to other vendors, BambooHR’s ramp-up process is relatively quick, especially for small businesses that don’t have the time or staff to dedicate to the project. In contrast, Zoho People expects you to implement the software independently with little to no assistance from their customer support team. Even enterprise customers must use Zoho People’s long, in-app video tutorials and PDF manual to set up the application, resulting in users contacting third-party consultants for assistance.

Still don’t believe me when I say BambooHR provides you with the tools to manage small business HR? Check out BambooHR’s dedicated YouTube channel for live demos and easy tutorials.

You can choose from two plans in BambooHR: Core or Pro. These plans function as BambooHR’s core human resources information system (HRIS).

BambooHR reserves more advanced HR processes in its add-ons, including U.S. payroll, benefits administration, and time tracking. Considering companies with 25 employees or fewer have to pay at least $250 per month to access its Core plan, this makes it a costly investment. New businesses that only need software to manage processes in heavily regulated areas like payroll, benefits, and time off would save money going with platforms like Gusto that include these options in its lowest priced plan.

Well-established small businesses will also find BambooHR pricey compared to alternatives like ADP Run. Even Rippling’s starter plan, Rippling Unity Core, begins at $8 PEPM and includes onboarding, PTO management, and e-signature features. It’s also cheaper if you have 13 employees or fewer. As a result, BambooHR only earned a 2.56 out of 5 for price.

But BambooHR offers volume discounts once you reach 30 employees, depending on your plan and add-ons. Plus, it may be worth spending a little extra to house all your core HR processes in one place rather than integrating multiple systems and risking data loss or repeated data entry.  

See below for BambooHR’s price breakdown by plans and add-ons:

Core*

  • For up to 25 employees: $250 per month flat rate.
  • For more than 25 employees: $10 per employee per month (PEPM).
  • Volume discount applies after 25 or more employees.
  • Includes:
    • HRIS and reporting.
    • Hiring and onboarding.
    • Time off and benefits tracking.
    • Access to integrations marketplace.

Pro*

  • For up to 25 employees: $425 per month flat rate.
  • For more than 25 employees: $17 PEPM.
  • Volume discount applies after 25 or more employees.
  • Includes everything in Core, plus:
    • Performance management.
    • Employee experience and rewards.
    • Employee community.

Add-ons

  • Payroll.**
  • Benefits administration.
  • Time tracking.

* There is a one-time implementation fee for the Core and Pro plans and the Payroll add-on. If you have fewer than 25 employees, you can opt for the QuickStart implementation for a lower fee.

** Please note that additional factors, like the number of FEINs or states where you need payroll, can affect this price. Please contact BambooHR for specific pricing quotes.

BambooHR is a well-balanced HR platform with modules covering most HR operations within the employee lifecycle, from recruitment and onboarding to performance appraisals and termination. Its overall score of 3.67 out of 5 reflects this, as do its user-friendly interface and simple workflows. If you’re new to HR software or looking to centralize your HR data, BambooHR is a great choice.

BambooHR lost points for pricing, scalability, and the absence of more complex modules like succession planning and career development. Its lack of specialization in any particular area also means that small businesses needing advanced features will find BambooHR quite rudimentary.

Its performance module is also lackluster, with goal creation and cascading limited to teams and individuals. This makes it challenging to view goals holistically across departments to align employees with company objectives and impact big-picture changes.

But, if your goal is to start monitoring all HR processes electronically and in the same place, BambooHR is a great option.

TriNet HR Platform: Best for core HR


Pros

  • Flexible benefits offerings to accommodate diverse businesses, plus COBRA and ACA support.
  • Time-tracking and scheduling modules included in every plan.
  • Built-in compliance tools to mitigate small business risk.
  • Optional HR advisory services for compliance, payroll, and employee management support.

Cons

  • TriNet TimeKeeper kiosk timekeeping app is only available for Apple iPads.
  • Company announcements and other cross-team communication elements limited to the Zen plan.
  • Lacks third-party plug-and-play payroll integrations.
  • Interface navigation is unintuitive.
Trinet HR Platform logo.

Our Rating: 3.66/5

Note: TriNet HR Platform was previously called TriNet Zenefits. As of December 19th, 2023, TriNet removed the Zenefits branding from the product and now markets it as the TriNet HR Platform. Upon further investigation, our experts determined HR Platform is the same core software as Zenefits. The most significant change is the option TriNet customers now have to combine the HR Platform with TriNet’s HR outsourcing or professional employer organization (PEO) services. You can learn more about the change by reading TriNet’s press release.

TriNet HR Platform is all-in-one HR software with modules covering simple personnel document management to essential workforce management features like payroll, benefits administration, and time tracking.

What makes TriNet HR Platform stand out? 

TriNet’s supports critical HR processes in its lowest price plan. This makes TriNet stand out among its competitors, which reserve these features in higher-tier subscriptions or add-ons

TriNet has an efficient benefits administration module. Its health insurance marketplace lets you compare benefit options from certified brokers online without picking up the phone. Its EDI carrier feed feature prevents you from manually completing forms and sending them to carriers following enrollments, changes, or terminations.

TriNet has expanded its platform functionality. Especially as competitors provide comparable benefits services. Rippling and BambooHR, for example, now offer EDI carrier connections. Meanwhile, Paycor’s Benefits Advisor improves the open enrollment experience by helping employees choose plans and calculate premium costs based on their circumstances.

TriNet incorporates more strategic HR. Through its partnership with Visier, you can customize your reporting and analytics with AI-powered predictive insights. Its Compliance Assistant monitors federal changes to HR, payroll, and benefits and supplies a tasklist of compliance to-do’s with deadlines. And it offers compensation management and customizable employee engagement surveys that alternatives like ADP Run and BambooHR do not.

What are Trinet’s limitations?

TriNet HR Platform becomes cumbersome if you have more than 250 employees. Its platform is clunky, lacking icons to identify different modules in its navigation sidebar quickly. 

Trinet has limited self-service features for system administrators. If you’re a system administrator and want to access self-service features, like clocking in and out, you must reenter modules from an employee’s view. This differs from competitors like BambooHR and Rippling, where the platform changes based on your access level.

TriNet HR Platform requires more manual legwork. For instance, its Compliance Assistance feature monitors federal labor law changes but requires you to input deadlines and tasks related to state and local labor laws. This means HR Platform is not an effective compliance backstop, especially if you have entities and locations in multiple states.

However, if you’re a small business, you may not mind the extra clicks to access various processes, especially when HR Platform offers capabilities typically reserved for human capital management (HCM) systems.

Time and attendance

TriNet HR Platform includes time and attendance features in all its pricing plans, making it an affordable option if your workforce is comprised primarily of non-exempt, hourly employees. Its time-tracking module also includes scheduling. While it lacks customizable rules or automatic scheduling like When I Work or Homebase, it’s better than manually creating schedules by hand every week.

Here are some of TriNet’s time and attendance features:

  • Location-restricted clock-in/clock-out via TriNet Mobile.
  • Time theft controls like geolocation and onsite timekeeping kiosk.
  • Project-based time tracking.
  • Compliance error and overtime alerts.
TriNet HR Platform displays a time clock dashboard with a project dropdown menu, a note text box, a clock-in button, and a calendar highlighting the current pay period.
As an employee or contractor, you can clock in and out from TriNet HR Platform, mark the project you’re working on, and add notes for context. Source: TechnologyAdvice
Reporting and analytics

TriNet HR Platform provides comparable reporting and analytics options to BambooHR, with pre-built report templates available within every module. While this makes it easy to access standard reports as needed, it does make ad hoc reporting tedious. For example, you have to access TriNet’s separate business intelligence (BI) module to create custom reports.

However, the People Analytics tab in TriNet’s BI module lets you create people data visualizations to identify trends in various HR metrics. Real-time report updates save time and reduce the need for additional spreadsheet or BI software subscriptions.

What’s more, TriNet’s People Analytics comes with predictive analytics capable of forecasting outcomes up to one year in advance. Although you need at least two years of data before TriNet can produce a predictive model, you can leverage the models to gauge the effectiveness of various small business functions.

For example, if you’re in a seasonal industry that cycles through hiring and layoffs, you can predict your headcount needs season-by-season. Its attrition predictor can also identify employees at risk of leaving so that you can take proactive measures to train successors. As a result, TriNet can prepare you for workforce shifts that could be difficult to recover from, especially if you have a small staff of key players.

TriNet HR Platform displays a dashboard with a "create new analysis" button plus three graphs: a doughnut graph on gender diversity, a bar graph on compensation by departments, and a line graph on headcounts by department.
TriNet HR Platform lets you create visualizations for quicker insights into areas like headcount, DEI, and compensation. Source: TriNet HR Platform

TriNet HR Platform offers three plan tiers: Essentials, Growth, and Zen. As you progress through its tiers, you gain access to performance management, compensation management, advanced analytics, and employee engagement features. You also have the option for add-on advisory services, payroll, recruiting, and benefits administration with your own broker.

TriNet HR Platform scored 2.75 out of 5 for pricing, losing points for its lack of a free trial and limited scalability. Although TriNet’s starting price does well compared to vendors like BambooHR and Rippling — especially considering the number of core HR features in its lowest plan — it falls short on customization and automation features to support company growth.

Plus, despite its new home on TriNet’s website following the Zenefits rebranding, you do not have the option to leverage TriNet’s HR outsourcing or PEO services while using HR Platform. If you’re interested in those services, they come with a completely different software product and pricing, unlike Rippling’s PEO.

However, if you have 40 employees or fewer, going with TriNet HR Platform’s payroll add-on is less expensive than Gusto’s Plus plan with time tracking. Even then, HR Platform has scheduling capabilities, which Gusto does not. So, if you need simple payroll, benefits, time tracking, and scheduling, HR Platform is the most cost-effective option in my top five list.

Essentials

Price (billed monthly): $10/employee/mo.

Price (billed annually): $8/employee/mo.

Includes:

  • Onboarding.
  • Employee management.
  • Time off management.
  • Scheduling and time tracking.
  • Basic reporting and analytics.
Growth

Price (billed monthly): $20/employee/mo.

Price (billed annually): $16/employee/mo.

Includes everything in Essentials, plus:

  • Customizable reports and analytics.
  • Prediction trends.
  • Compensation management.
  • Performance management.
Zen

Price (billed monthly): $33/employee/mo.

Price (billed annually): $27/employee/mo.

Includes everything in Growth, plus:

  • Employee engagement surveys.
  • Company announcements and newsfeed.
  • Task manager.
  • Payroll.
Add-on modules
  • Payroll: $6/employee/mo.
  • Advisory services: $8/employee/mo.
  • Benefits admin using own broker: $5/employee/mo.

Recruiting: Starting at $35/mo.

Note: New customers who subscribe to an annual contract and pay upfront will save 36% on their HR Platform plan for a limited time.

If you’re a small business looking for coverage of essential HR operations at an affordable price, TriNet HR Platform is your best bet. With its starter Essentials plan, you get employee recordkeeping, leave management, TriNet-brokered benefits administration, time tracking, and scheduling. This is the only platform in my roundup that offers all these HR modules in its lowest-priced plan.

Plus, if you’re relatively new to HR software, HR Platform’s limited customization options mean faster setup. It also adds consistency to your HR processes as you solidify your company processes, like time-off approval workflows and schedule posting cadences, that you may never have formalized.

However, HR Platform is not the best choice if you have complex needs, like labor cost scheduling or global contractor payroll. Switching between modules is time-consuming, while features like its newsfeed for employee engagement don’t provide nearly the same capabilities as alternatives like Paycor.

As a result, be prepared to switch to a more advanced solution as your headcount grows or integrate with standalone HR platforms to fill in functionality gaps.

Rippling: Best for rapidly growing businesses


Pros

  • Employer of record (EOR) services and dynamic employee profiles for over 150 countries.
  • Device management capabilities, including an offsite warehouse for inactive device storage.
  • IT and finance products available to consolidate business software applications.
  • Advanced workflow creation features to automate rote HR processes.
  • Compliance 360 for time and paid leave labor law compliance monitoring both domestically and globally.

Cons

  • Payroll, benefits administration, and time tracking are paid add-ons.
  • Lacks scheduling, geofencing, and mobile recognition options to support frontline workers.
  • Reporting, workflow automations, and notifications can overwhelm small businesses needing plug-and-play solutions.
  • Device inventory management limited to the U.S., Canada, and the UK.
The Rippling logo.

Our Rating: 4.01/5

Rippling is a comprehensive HR platform that focuses on streamlining the operational side of HR. I particularly like its payroll module, which supports multiple currencies, identifies global compliance risks, and automates approval workflows. But beyond payroll, Rippling’s support for benefits administration, recruitment, and performance management meets or exceeds that of other all-in-one HR software competitors.

What makes Rippling stand out? 

Rippling’s modules interconnect. For example, as your workforce grows, you can use Rippling’s headcount planning to prepare for needed roles and control labor costs among various locations. The plan then interacts with your recruiting and offboarding modules by automatically creating job requisitions for backfills following staff terminations and new roles based on company needs. And because your headcount plan has customized approval workflows, this capability:

  • Reduces the back-and-forth between hiring stakeholders and makes your team more agile. 
  • Hiring managers can make an offer to top talent faster, allowing you to build your workforce. 
  • Combined with Rppling’s analytics, which pulls data from over three sources, you can effectively strategize your staff needs based on your company’s growth journey.

What are Rippling’s limitations?

Less refined modules due to the speed of adding features. The drawback of Rippling is that the speed at which it adds new features means that existing modules are less refined. Here are some examples:

  • Global payroll and EOR services are only available in 50 countries, compared to competitors that typically support over 70. 
  • There isn’t a sandbox feature for you to test new workflows before implementing them company-wide. 
  • Rippling’s interface is occasionally glitchy and slow, so you have to start your work over again.

Nevertheless, as a growing company, you may enjoy trying new, modern features without switching vendors or integrating with third-party platforms. In 2023 alone, Rippling released recruiting, headcount planning, and performance management features to continue building its strategic HR capabilities.

Did you know?

Rippling’s adaptable and customizable platform makes it a forerunner in many of our buyer’s guides. Check out how it ranked in some of our top picks below.

Support for global workforces

Rippling differentiates itself from other global payroll vendors by providing a native way for you to hire and pay international contractors and employees within the platform. Even its EOR services are a result of Rippling-owned entities in 50 countries. By comparison, many U.S.-based competitors rely on partnerships or integrations to accomplish this.

For instance, Gusto’s EOR services result from its partnership with Remote. And ADP’s ability to accommodate payroll in over 140 countries is because it works with outside local entities. This can result in data silos and employee payroll processing delays because of a lack of control over these vendors.

Instead, you can stay entirely within Rippling to manage your international workforce. You can move from paying your international contingent workforce to subscribing to Rippling’s EOR services to managing global workers through your own entities. Rippling’s Compliance 360 tool even monitors wage and hour violations, including employee misclassifications, reducing the chances of labor law violations in unfamiliar locations.

Housing your domestic and international employee data in one place allows you to drill down on cross-country data points. You can use your locations as an attribution to monitor labor costs and employee engagement and sentiment. The data can serve as a way to track the success of your expansion and what you can do to improve employee satisfaction in different cultural climates.

Rippling displays a report dashboard with a bar graph showing company locations along the X-axis, total employer costs on the Y-axis, and options to change chart type on the right-hand side.
Rippling lets you aggregate payroll data by location to compare the locations driving the most labor costs. Source: TechnologyAdvice
Flexible PEO

Rippling offers PEO services for U.S. businesses that want to offload HR administrative services to focus on the day-to-day operations of managing their business. Although Rippling is not the only HR vendor to provide both HR technology and services, it is one of the most flexible on the market.

Rippling lets you choose when and how often you need its PEO capabilities. For example, as a small business, you may want the extra support of a PEO. Rippling’s PEO can help you establish your leave policies, streamline your payroll, and even provide you with affordable, high-tier benefits and workers’ compensation policies for your employees.

When you grow and hire more HR staff, handling payroll, benefits, and workforce management processes becomes more cost-effective in-house. Instead of providing cancellation notice and potentially paying fees if you terminate your PEO contract early, Rippling lets you turn on and off its PEO service directly within the platform. You can continue using the Rippling platform even after you cancel its PEO services.

Competitor PEOs don’t offer the same service flexibility. For example, Justworks PEO requires you to house your PEO and EOR employees on separate platforms after acquiring Via.

So, Rippling is the better option if you expect your support needs to change frequently.

On/off switch appears above text stating that Rippling PEO is off.
Rippling lets you turn its PEO services on or off, depending on your needs. Source: Rippling

All Rippling customers must purchase its core Rippling Unity platform before accessing modules in its HR, IT, or Finance clouds. Rippling Unity also has four plan tiers based on the number of workflows, advanced reporting, and integration capabilities you need.

Although its base plan starts at $8 PEPM, prepare to pay more based on the Unity plan, add-on modules, and HR services you need. Rippling may also add a monthly base price, depending on your company’s circumstances. Most third-party sources state its base price starts at $35 per month

Rippling scored 3 out of 5 for pricing, only slightly better than TriNet HR Platform and BambooHR. This is because Rippling includes far more scalable features and options than either platform. Its compensation reviews, headcount planning, salary bands, and IT device management also make it a more capable solution for midsize companies with distributed workforces.

However, if you only need essential HR functions like payroll and benefits administration, you should expect to pay more than alternatives like Gusto and TriNet. Fluctuating headcounts are also expensive because Rippling charges you based on your highest number of active employees, reimbursing you only for temporary employees that separate within 90 days.

Nevertheless, Rippling may be more cost-effective than switching or integrating with third-party solutions for more advanced options. Plus, if you have 13 employees or fewer, you can save money and access far more features with Rippling Unity Core, its lowest price plan, compared to BambooHR Essentials.

Core

Includes:

  • Global organizational chart.
  • Global workforce analytics.
  • Permissions and access control.
  • Approval management.
  • Document and policy management.
  • Compliance management.
  • Salary banding.
  • PTO and leave management.
  • Localization for 150+ countries.
  • Customized workflows (for onboarding only).

Pro

Includes everything in Core, plus:

  • Customized workflows (for any event).
  • Up to 10 workflows.
  • Up to 10 formula fields in reports.
  • Up to 10 reports that join data from three or more sources.
  • Integrate with Slack for approvals and sending messages.
  • Integrate with Microsoft Teams for sending messages.
  • Create and send calendar invites.
  • Scheduled reports.

Unlimited

Includes everything in Pro, plus:

  • Unlimited customized workflows.
  • Unlimited formula fields.
  • Unlimited advanced reports.
  • Webhooks.

Enterprise

Includes everything in Unlimited, plus:

  • Access to Rippling’s API.

If you want additional features outside Rippling’s core HRIS, you can add the following modules to Unity from its HR, finance, or IT clouds.

HR Cloud

  • U.S. and global payroll.
  • Benefits administration.
  • Time and attendance.
  • Flex benefits (FSA, HSA, and commuter).
  • Recruiting.
  • Learning management.
  • Pulse (employee engagement).
  • Headcount planning.
  • Performance management.

IT Cloud

  • App management.
  • Device management.
  • Inventory management.

Finance Cloud

  • Corporate cards.
  • Expense management.

Additional services

  • ACA and COBRA administration.
  • HR Help Desk (HR Support).
  • PEO services.
  • Global employer of record services.

*Note: Rippling currently offers a one-month free subscription if you sign up within six weeks. This is subject to end anytime, so please check its website for the latest.

Scoring 4.01 out of 5, Rippling is best if you’re growing quickly and want to avoid switching HR software providers every few years. Rippling offers compliance controls that monitor your HR wage and time policies to ensure they meet regulatory standards, even as you expand to new states or internationally.

Other features create a more cohesive experience for your employees as your workforce becomes more diverse. For example, platform localization in over 150 countries makes employee profiles match regional text, date, and currency formatting. This means the platform feels made for them, even if your headquarters are in the U.S.

Rippling also leverages its IT and finance solutions to serve your distributed teams better. Even if you lack an IT department, you can provision and deprovision company applications and set up, ship, and deploy electronics to your teams. And you can create easy if-then workflows in Rippling to automate onboarding, review cycles, promotion approvals, and report runs for consistent and streamlined processes by entity, location, or department.

Despite this, I wouldn’t recommend Rippling if you’re new to HR software. While the software is easy to navigate, Rippling’s customization options create a steep learning curve for newbies. Its reporting module alone is complicated since the formula language Rippling uses for reports is not a one-on-one comparison to Excel. Creating visualizations also requires a lot of trial and error to get right.

Plus, Rippling focuses on expanding its software capabilities at the expense of its customer service. For instance, you have to pay to access HR phone support. Employees also can’t contact Rippling for questions on their accounts, forcing them to contact you for technical issues.

Paycor: Best for midsize businesses


Pros

  • Physical time clocks to support more accurate time punches for onsite workers.
  • Earned wage access (EWA) options to give employees access to their funds sooner and support financial wellness.
  • Risk assessment team to prepare against cybersecurity threats and monitor and update the system against data vulnerabilities.
  • AI-powered advanced analytics.
  • 14-day free trial demo on HR, payroll, onboarding, and time modules.

Cons

  • Expensive solution for small businesses.
  • Does not support international operations.
  • Several core HR features are reserved for higher plans and add-ons, like onboarding, benefits administration, leave management, and customizable reports.
Paycor logo.

Our Rating: 3.7/5

Despite the name, Paycor is a full-scale HR platform that offers more than just payroll. Its features range from onboarding to talent acquisition, analytics, and learning and development (L&D). This makes Paycor best suited for midsize businesses needing flexible, tactical HR functions.

What makes Paycor stand out? 

Paycor’s features are customizable enough to support businesses in various industries. Geolocation, geofencing, and mobile kiosks prevent time theft and buddy punching for field employees. Its scheduling module outdoes TriNet’s, with features like budget controls and availability rules to support shift workers in retail, hospitality, and manufacturing industries.

Other versatile features of Paycor include:

What are Paycor’s limitations?

Navigating Paycor can be challenging. Most modules display data in a spreadsheet similar to UKG Ready, making for a dated appearance. As a result, it may take longer to familiarize yourself with the platform, especially if you’re transitioning from more beginner-friendly software like BambooHR or Gusto.

Paycor can’t support international teams. Despite its in-app compliance controls and alerts, Paycor cannot support your international teams. Instead, you’ll have to integrate with one of its global payroll partners or choose to manage your international operations through a third party. If this is you, look to Rippling or UKG Ready if your company has global ambitions.

Customizable pay grid

Paycor uses an advanced spreadsheet-like interface to run payroll. Its pay grid organizes payroll attributes in columns arranged by employee name. Columns typically include data like an employee’s regular rate of pay plus regular and overtime hours. But you can also add columns for information unique to your company, like commission pay, bonuses, PTO accruals, or equipment deductions.

Once you modify the pay grid view for your company and integrate it with Paycor’s time and attendance module, it’s possible to complete payroll faster than others, including Rippling. This is because all payroll adjustments occur on one screen instead of a multi-step workflow.

Another great feature is the ability to review and edit payrolls far in advance. For example, say you plan to issue employee holiday bonuses two months from now. You can add the pay code and amount to that particular pay cycle in advance so you don’t forget.

However, Paycor’s pay grid can also hurt payroll efficiency. This is because it expects you to be familiar with your company’s pay practices to customize the grid to fit your needs. While a midsize business will like the flexibility to add, remove, and change payroll data on any pay run at will, small companies developing their pay practices will find it hard to follow.

Paycor displays a payroll spreadsheet with columns for employee, employee number, check, net direct deposit, department, rate, shift, workweek, regular rate, overtime rate, and gross earnings.
Paycor’s pay grid lets you add, remove, and rearrange columns relevant to your employees’ pay, potentially speeding up payroll processing for your seasoned payroll specialists. Source: TechnologyAdvice

Did you know?

Paycor’s pay grid is great for users who want more control over their company’s pay processes. Its AutoRun feature, multiple pay schedule support, and ability to run off-cycle pay runs at your convenience rival competitors like Rippling, Gusto, and ADP Workforce Now.

Coupled with its powerful mobile app, Paycor is a worthy choice for companies with both frontline and remote employees. Check out how it compares against competitors in our buyer’s guides below:

Manager talent development

Paycor offers several modules that work together to support managers in leadership training and career development:

  • Paycor Paths lets managers launch leadership and pulse surveys to their direct reports to understand the behaviors that drive engagement and productivity.
  • Leadership scores highlight each manager’s strengths and opportunities for improvement.
  • Coaching tips and resources help managers make behavioral changes and strengthen their soft skills.

For example, managers struggling to give effective feedback may want opportunities to improve their communication skills. Paycor will walk them through lessons on feedback and send feedback requests to direct reports. It also tracks and suggests how to set up effective one-on-one meetings and recognize others.

This can be a major contributor to employee retention efforts for your midsize businesses. Strong managers are more likely to successfully align their teams with bigger-picture company objectives, inspire teamwork, and reduce the chance of burnout, turnover, and job hopping.

Paycor displays an insights dashboard with cards showing percentage data on how well a manager performs in areas related to coaching, optimization, and retention, plus insights into one-on-one meetings, recognition, and performance reviews.
Managers can use Paycor to develop their leadership skills through insights and action items to positively impact company engagement and culture. Source: Paycor

Paycor has two pricing schemes based on the size of your company. If you have fewer than 50 employees, you can choose from four small-business plans: Basic, Essential, Core, and Complete. Pricing starts at $99 per month plus $6 PEPM.

If you have between 50 and 1,000 employees, you can access Paycor’s mid-market plans. Pricing depends on your employee count and the modules you need.

Paycor only received a 2.19 out of 5 for pricing. Although it is the only product on my shortlist with a 14-day free trial, it lost points for offering one of the most expensive small business plans. For context, Gusto starts at $40 per month plus $6 PEPM for single-state payroll and includes onboarding, time-off management, and Gusto-brokered health insurance benefits that Paycor doesn’t.

While small businesses might balk at Paycor’s prices, this may not be a big issue for a midsize company. It might be worth the extra cost to unite all your HR functions on one platform to drive process efficiency, especially if you’re using multiple standalone platforms to manage your people needs.

Still, be prepared to sign a 24-month contract if you decide to take advantage of any Paycor promotions or risk cancellation penalties.

Basic

Starts at $99 per month plus $6 PEPM.

Includes:

  • Federal, state, and local tax filings.
  • Client-managed garnishments.
  • Check stuffing.
  • Basic reporting (pre-built reports and scheduled reporting).
  • New hire filing.
  • On-demand pay.
  • AutoRun payroll.
  • Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC).
Essential

Includes everything in Basic, plus:

  • Labor law posters.
  • Onboarding.
  • Time off management.
  • Report builder.
  • Job costing.
  • 401(k) integrations and EDI processing.
  • General ledger report and electronic GL.
  • E-Verify service.
  • Recruit and hire.
  • Basic analytics.
  • HR support center.
Core

Includes everything in Essential, plus:

  • On-demand HR support.
  • Expense management.
  • Employee import.
  • HR, COR leadership, and engage modules.
Complete

Includes everything in Core, plus:

  • Career management.
  • Compensation planning.
  • Talent development.
Add-ons
  • Workers’ compensation.
  • Time and scheduling.
  • Benefits administration.
  • Recruiting.

Note: Paycor offers a 50% discount on all its small business plans for the first six months, plus waived setup fees. For its mid-market tier, you can get HCM Cor free for one month, which includes payroll, HR, onboarding, and analytics modules.

With a 3.70 out of 5 score, midsize businesses will like Paycor’s breadth of offerings that support core HR and long-term business objectives. I was particularly impressed with its support for complex payroll cadences, like shift differentials, plus its modules pinpointing employee engagement and retention.

For example, Paycor’s compensation management module lets you monitor pay equity as your company becomes more diverse and segmented. Meanwhile, its learning management system (LMS), performance, and feedback features facilitate consistent training cadences across the company while giving employees room to develop professionally in the areas that interest them.

Despite this, Paycor is confusing to navigate and requires more training during the implementation process. Many of its modules outside of payroll lack refinement compared to standalone solutions, including its HRIS, document creation, chat function, and employee recognition functions. Even so, Paycor’s customization and cross-module people analytics make it a worthy choice for more complicated business needs.

UKG Ready: Best for robust analytics


Pros

  • Modules covering strategic HR processes like succession planning, employee development, skills gap analysis, and compensation management.
  • Advanced recruiting with résumé parsing, knockout questions, pre-employment assessments, and sentiment analysis.
  • Access to UKG products supporting industry-specific needs, like time and scheduling solutions for casinos, healthcare, public safety, and government contractors.
  • UKG Bryte generative AI for action planning, Q&As, and workforce insights.

Cons

  • Complicated user interface requiring significant training.
  • Does not reveal pricing.
  • Lacks human resources outsourcing (HRO), PEO, or EOR services.
  • Users report implementation typically takes longer than expected.
UKG logo.

Our Rating: 3.98/5

UKG Ready is UKG’s all-in-one HR solution for mid-to-large-sized businesses. While it can support teams with fewer than 100 employees, UKG Ready is better suited for companies looking to automate HR operations for a larger workforce and gather holistic insights into their people talent.

What makes UKG Ready stand out?

UKG Ready streamlines data collection and analysis capabilities. System administrators, for example, can access vast amounts of employee user data, from login attempts and password changes to approval workflows and compliance tracking. Besides strong recordkeeping for workers’ compensation (WC) and Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) audits, it also allows you to comply with laws on time off, OSHA injury reporting, and ACA eligibility. 

UKG Ready’s focus on reporting is evident in its UI. Navigating through most modules involves manipulating a spreadsheet in real time to fit your needs. For example, instead of a list of employees and their contact information like in BambooHR, UKG Ready’s staff directory is a spreadsheet of employee data fields of your choosing.

In addition to filtering and sorting the spreadsheet, you can add and remove columns representing any employee data field, change your default view, or save multiple views for quick reference. It also unifies data across modules like payroll, benefits administration, and performance management.

For instance, instead of running a termination report for the last three months, I can modify my employee roster to display terminated employees in the previous 90 days and save it as a view. Unlike TriNet HR Platform, I don’t need to run a report and download it to view in a spreadsheet program. With UKG Ready, I can see the data whenever I want and act on insights faster.

What are UKG Ready’s limitations?

UKG Ready’s UI has a longer learning curve. Because UKG Ready’s UI does not mimic other HR platforms or social media sites, expect a longer learning curve.

If you have a global team, be prepared to purchase UKG One View. You will need UKG One View to process international payroll since it does not integrate with third-party providers. One View itself is a recent addition to UKG’s product line following its acquisition of Immedis in 2023.

That said, UKG Ready provides one of the strongest platforms for compliance controls, workforce planning, and talent development. It outshines Rippling and Paycor’s data collection processes, making it easier for your midsize business to make informed decisions about expansion, workplace safety programs, and employee happiness initiatives.

Did you know?

UKG Ready targets midsize businesses with two to 1,000 employees, but you may notice lag times and process inefficiencies as your headcount approaches the upper limit.

If this is you, learn more about UKG’s mid-enterprise HCM product, UKG Pro, in our UKG vs. ADP deep dive. Or, explore other top enterprise-grade software in The Best Enterprise HR Software & Solutions.

Dynamic report views and visualizations

UKG Ready categorizes its data across the platform using a series of reports and analytics dashboards. It is unique because it updates these reports in real time without opening results in new application windows or waiting for runs to process.

Like BambooHR, you can customize UKG’s homepage with a selection of widgets that are important to you. However, UKG Ready allows you to add pre-built widgets alongside custom-made reports and charts. As a result, you can skip building and running reports for data you access often, such as the cost of your most recent payroll.

UKG Ready uses a similar process when you move across different modules or “domains.” You can customize each module’s homepage with widgets and charts to your liking, and you can dive deeper into any of these items simply by clicking on them.

You can also change the access settings of any report, chart, and view across the platform. Beyond giving you access to what you need quicker, distributed teams can work or view data in similar environments. It also enables specialization within your HR department, creating spaces for effective work among recruiters, payroll specialists, benefits administrators, and L&D teams.

UKG Ready displays a homepage dashboard with icons linking to processes like account info, time, and daily tasks, plus widgets for clocking in and out, saved reports, and company announcements.
You can customize your homepages in each UKG Ready module with widgets, charts, reports, and quickstart icons to start workflows and access necessary data with little to no clicks. Source: UKG Ready
Analytics for strategic business goals

UKG Ready includes several enterprise-grade analytics that far outdo most small and midsize HR solutions.

Its AI capabilities unite data from across the platform for more compelling insights. For example, UKG Ready’s succession planning module draws data from recruitment, onboarding, offboarding, performance, and learning modules to suggest and predict relevant replacements and flight risks in critical roles. It also creates nine-box matrices to categorize employees’ potential and readiness for roles based on competency levels.

You can also use UKG Bryte, its generative AI assistant, to aid in strategic business planning. Bryte analyzes your company data to understand the reasons impacting productivity and employee sentiment, like low work-life balance and fatigue. You can even ask it to offer suggestions for solving issues, like how to improve scheduling practices to reduce burnout.

Paycor offers similar analytics capabilities, but its AI assistant is limited to workforce data analysis instead of a two-way conversation. As a result, Paycor’s HR teams may need to perform more manual steps to solve issues compared to UKG Ready, which can diagnose, plan, and implement changes much faster.

UKG Ready displays a succession plan dashboard with a list of employees matched to roles for assistant manager and machine operator; bar, nine-box, and pie charts also show succession plan readiness, impact of role loss, and estimated readiness in years, respectively.
With UKG Ready, you can create detailed succession plans for each employee, monitor their potential, and estimate when they’ll be ready to take on key roles. Source: UKG Ready

UKG Ready does not disclose its pricing online, so you will have to contact it for a customized quote. Like Paycor’s mid-market tier, pricing depends on your employee headcount and the modules you need. You may also be required to pay an implementation fee, which is a percentage of your annual software fee. Third-party sources indicate that UKG typically bills its subscription fees quarterly or annually.

Because UKG Ready lacks a free trial, monthly billing, and transparent pricing, it performed the worst on our list for pricing, scoring only 1.13 out of 5. Given its features and customization, you should expect a much higher PEPM price than most alternatives.

However, as a midsize business, you may be less concerned with price and more concerned with the HR platform’s functionality and potential to improve process inefficiency. For instance, UKG Ready’s automated workflows and generative AI capabilities can speed up HR action planning, making it cheaper in the long term than hiring staff to tackle these projects.

If UKG Ready seems right for you, remember that you can negotiate your price, and you may even have access to promotions and discounts based on your headcount and industry. Many HR vendors typically offer reduced pricing for non-profits, for example.

Below are the different modules that UKG Ready offers:

  • HR: onboarding, self-service, benefits administration, ACA management, and COBRA administration.
  • Payroll: compliance, insights, and tax services.
  • Talent: ATS and succession planning, plus compensation, performance, and learning management.
  • Time and attendance: timekeeping, absence tracking, leave management, and compliance rules management.
  • Scheduling: automated schedules, AI suggestions, and compliance guidelines management.
  • Analytics: reporting, AI insights, benchmarks, and sentiment analysis.
  • Ready boost: price package that includes all critical modules (HR, payroll, and timekeeping) and an accelerated, 100-day implementation timeline.

UKG Ready may have only received a 3.98 out of 5, just a hair below Rippling’s 4.01, but don’t let that dissuade you. Its powerful analytics and real-time reporting are leagues ahead of other SMB HR platforms on this list. In fact, UKG Ready’s customizable reporting dashboards and charts in every module make it stand out as a platform personalized to each business rather than a one-size-fits-all solution.

This is especially important for midsize businesses with increasingly diverse operations by location, department, and team. UKG Ready accommodates these through support for multiple business entities, highly configurable settings and access controls, and industry-specific data collection. As a result, it’s flexible enough to support businesses with a mix of in-office and deskless employees, unlike Rippling’s very tech-focused solution.

However, UKG Ready is not the best if you need an immediate HR solution. Implementation is slow, requiring significant training and customization to fit your business operations. The UI is complicated, with some tasks as simple as inactivating an employee taking minutes to complete. And it doesn’t have HR outsourcing (HRO), PEO, or EOR services if you want to offload or share some of your HR responsibilities.

But for a platform targeting midsize businesses, UKG Ready’s access to high-tier analytics features, including narrative generative AI insights, makes it an effective solution for big-picture business strategy and planning.

Honorable mentions

Many platforms I reviewed have great features that might better appeal to your particular needs. If the above platforms don’t quite fit, check out my runners-up.

Gusto: Best for small businesses new to HR software

Alternative for: BambooHR and TriNet HR Platform

When to choose Gusto: Gusto provides easy step-by-step instructions and implementation services to set up your business and HR workflows for the first time. Gusto-brokered benefits, tax notice investigations, and state tax registration services are particularly noteworthy if you’re a startup with an administrative team of one and need support developing compliant business and people operations.

Why it didn’t make the list: Gusto’s bare-bones system is excellent if you’re a small business, but its reporting module lacks tools to craft custom visualizations for more detailed data insights. Gusto’s training is also limited to state-mandated anti-harassment courses, while onboarding workflows are not much more than to-do lists sent to various stakeholders. This means more manual data entry than competitors like BambooHR and TriNet HR Platform.

Gusto logo.

Our Rating: 3.57/5

Did you know?

Gusto is slowly expanding its international payroll capabilities through its partnership with Remote. It only offers EOR services in Canada but expects to roll out to more countries soon. This is welcome news if you want to transition your international contractors into full-time employees.

RUN Powered by ADP: Best for small business payroll

Alternative for: BambooHR

When to choose ADP Run: If you have fewer than 50 employees and only need payroll, then ADP Run is your best bet. Besides multi-state payroll support on all tiers, your accounting or payroll specialists can run payroll on the go using the ADP Run mobile app. You can also offer your employees on-demand pay through its Wisely debit card and financial wellness tools similar to Paycor.

Why it didn’t make the list: ADP Run becomes costly if you have multiple pay schedules since it charges per payroll. While it offers an ATS, basic HR forms, a handbook creation wizard, and HR support in its higher plans, they’re lackluster compared to BambooHR. It also requires running processes like performance reviews and engagement surveys off the platform, preventing you from moving your people operations to a wholly digital environment.

Run Powered by ADP logo.

Our Rating: 3.54/5

Zoho People: Best for affordability

Alternative for: Rippling

When to choose Zoho People: Zoho People offers various modules to support most of your HR needs, including advanced workflow automations, recruiting, reports, analytics, and a learning management system (LMS). You can access all of these features at an extremely competitive price. For example, its highest tier, People Plus, costs $9 PEPM, only one dollar more expensive than Rippling’s least expensive Rippling Unity Core plan. And, if you’re really on a budget, Zoho People also has a free plan.

Why it didn’t make the list: Zoho People includes a lot of functionality at a great price, but its platform is clunky and confusing. Users report that customer service is unhelpful, and you have to perform software data migration and implementation yourself. Plus, Zoho People only offers payroll support in 12 states and requires you to file payroll taxes yourself.

Zoho People logo.

Our Rating: 3.39/5

Why do small businesses need HR software?

Human resource software helps HR teams at small businesses stay organized with hiring, training, and managing employees. HR software solutions do this by providing a central interface to manage and even automate these different functions.

HR software also offloads tasks from HR staff to employees by offering self-service portals. There, employees can view and edit their personal information, make changes to their benefits, or connect with coworkers.

Why do medium-sized businesses need HR software?

Medium-sized businesses require HR software that can accommodate their growing workforces and handle more complex automations. As a result, most medium-sized HR software solutions offer enhanced reporting features, internal ATS or recruitment support, and robust workforce management tools, including performance management.

These tools aid organizations in transitioning from purely operational HR processes to more strategic ones to keep the business growing.

Also read: HRIS vs. HRMS vs. HCM: What Is the Difference?

Types of HR software and tools SMBs need

Human resource software allows HR teams at SMBs to manage and automate core and strategic HR functions, including:

Also read: 14-Must Have HR System Features

The right combination of functionalities will depend on your size, industry, and needs. For example, smaller businesses often can’t afford to purchase a fully integrated human resources information system (HRIS) platform that bundles all core HR features together.

However, as you grow, comprehensive HR platforms become more cost-effective, secure, and user-friendly than stitching together disparate apps.

Check out our shortlist of recommendations for Top HRIS Solutions that bundle together core HR functions.

How to choose the best HR software for small and medium businesses

Small and medium businesses need HR software to automate rote HR operations, like paystub delivery, so their small or non-existent HR teams can focus on higher-priority work. They also need solutions that provide the flexibility to quickly add or remove features as their needs evolve.

Our picks below help you with the above, plus emphasize particular focus areas to satisfy your needs:

  • Choose BambooHR if you’re a small business needing an easy-to-use product with pre-defined HR workflows.
  • Select TriNet HR Platform if you want an affordable platform covering all small business core HR processes.
  • Pick Rippling if you’re experiencing rapid growth and need customizable features to support your changing business operations.
  • Go with Paycor if you’re a midsize U.S. business looking for more advanced modules across the employee life cycle. 
  • Select UKG Ready if you’re a midsize business requiring more advanced analytics for strategic people operation planning.

If you’re still unsure what the best solution is for your company, explore our HR Software Guide for a list of options that fit your needs.


Jessica Dennis Avatar

About the author


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