April 19, 2024

The Top HRIS Systems of 2024

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Tags: HR

My top picks for the best human resources information system are:

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Featured HR software partners

1 Deel

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Deel is the all-in-one platform built to hire, manage and grow global teams. By bringing together cutting edge HR tools, payroll solutions, compliance and more, Deel enables companies to scale globally with unmatched speed and flexibility.

With Deel, you can hire and onboard any type of employee, compliantly, in 150+ countries in minutes. You can run payroll in 100+ countries and all 50 states in a click of a button. You can offer competitive benefits, equity, manage equipment and more.

Learn more about Deel

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.

Learn more about BambooHR

3 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.

Learn more about Paycor

4 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.

Learn more about Rippling

5 Bob

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Meet Bob, the modern HR platform for modern business. With Bob, HR teams get everything they need to operate efficiently and engage employees in one HRIS. Use automation and workflows to save hours on HR admin time. Connect employees from anywhere with a social media-like homepage that drives culture with communications, kudos, and recognition. Centralize all people data in one place for a holistic view. Share accurate reports for stronger insights and better decision-making.

Learn more about Bob

What kind of HR software do you need? Learn more in HRIS vs HRMS vs HCM: What is the Difference?

What are the best HRIS systems?

  Expert rating Starting price*  
Rippling Unity 4.06 out of 5 $8/employee/mo.
Visit Rippling
GoCo 3.82 out of 5 $5/employee/mo.
Visit GoCo
BambooHR Core** 3.76 out of 5 $250/mo. for the first 25 employees
Visit BambooHR
ADP RUN Essential 3.76 out of 5 Contact sales.
Visit ADP
TriNet HR Platform Essentials 3.69 out of 5 $8/employee/mo.
Visit TriNet

*Prices are based on annual billing.
**Please see the BambooHR pricing section below for an explanation of discounts.

Apr. 19, 2024: Jessica Dennis updated her evaluation of TriNet Zenefits to reflect its rebranding as TriNet HR Platform. She also revised her analysis of BambooHR Essentials following its subscription tier change to BambooHR Core. Finally, she added sub-criteria ratings for each vendor, corrected the pricing tiers for GoCo, added a screenshot of GoCo’s customizable workspaces, and updated scoring where appropriate.

Mar. 25, 2024: Jessica Dennis reevaluated our top HRIS choices for 2024 using an objective scoring rubric. She also updated the copy, product information, prices, and key features. 

While this article was in production, TriNet announced that the brand Zenefits no longer exists. BambooHR also changed its subscription plans. As we gather more details on these changes, we will update our analysis to reflect any new features that affect each product’s scores.

Nov. 14, 2023: Kaiti Norton verified the current pricing information for each vendor and updated Zenefits to reflect the new pricing for its Zen package.

Oct. 18, 2023: Kaiti Norton removed information about Gusto’s 529 college savings benefits, which the company no longer offers. She also updated some of the formatting elements.

Aug. 30, 2023: We added videos for BambooHR and GoCo.

Aug. 21, 2023: We updated some of the formatting elements and verified the current pricing details for each vendor.

Jul. 26, 2023: We revised the formatting of the article for improved efficiency and visual flow. We also reviewed our choices for accuracy, replaced Cavu Essentials with GoCo, and outlined our methodology.

I picked my choices with you in mind.

First, I conducted market research based on current options and narrowed down my list based on the reviews of readers like you. I then researched the following 10 human resources information systems using free trials, demos, and knowledge bases.

  • Gusto Simple.
  • TriNet Zenefits Essentials.
  • ADP RUN Essential.
  • BambooHR Essentials.
  • GoCo.
  • Rippling Unity.
  • Homebase Essentials.
  • Bob.
  • Sage HR.
  • Deel HR.

My research focused on your top-of-mind concerns like price, out-of-the-box workflows, and ease of use. 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: 5%

User reviews from third-party software platforms like G2, Capterra, TrustRadius, and Gartner accounted for 5% 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: 20%

Pricing accounts for 20% 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. This category represents 20% of the platform’s total score.

Core HR: 30%

Core HR covers the basics of HR software, including its central employee database, document management, and analytics functionalities. Software with robust employee recordkeeping features, customizable reports, and dashboards earned top marks. Core HR comprises 30% of the software’s total score.

Workforce management: 25%

Workforce management represents 25% of the platform’s overall score and includes payroll, benefits administration, and time management features. 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.

Rippling Unity: Best HRIS software overall


Pros

  • Detailed reporting and analytics are included in every plan.
  • Compensation banding to create salary consistency across roles and levels.
  • Localized profiles in over 150 countries.
  • In-app compliance tracker to avoid potential domestic and international time and labor violations.

Cons

  • Expensive solution if you only need an electronic employee record.
  • Must purchase additional modules for payroll, time tracking, and benefits administration.
  • Learning curve for custom reports and automations.
  • Lacks a native employee communication feature outside of its Employee Home Google Chrome extension.
Rippling logo.

Our Rating: 4.06/5

  • User reviews: 4.7
  • Pricing: 2.88
  • Platform and interface: 4.34
  • Core HR: 4.35
  • Workforce management: 4.31

Rippling Unity serves as the backbone of the entire Rippling platform. All customers must purchase Rippling Unity before accessing other modules in its HR, Finance, and IT cloud product lines. Unity also acts as Rippling’s core HRIS, including an employee directory and recordkeeping functions.

Surprisingly, looking solely at its HRIS capabilities, Rippling Unity did not rank the highest; that designation goes to GoCo and Bob. Instead, Rippling’s strength comes in its scalability, HR automation, and data analytics that overshadow its competition. This is likely a result of Rippling’s heavy IT focus as it looks for ways to integrate and access the workplace tools you use daily directly from its homepage.

Other clever features include:

  • App provisioning and de-provisioning during onboarding and offboarding workflows.
  • Compensation banding.
  • Employee profiles that transform to capture the necessary data depending on their location.

These features help create a consistent employee experience during hiring and exiting processes. The program can even shorten ramp-up times for employees by helping HR and IT teams distribute and manage devices and apps directly within the program, often with little direct involvement from either department.

Despite this, Rippling Unity is not the best choice if this is your first HR software or if you simply want a place to store your employment data electronically. For example, you must manually establish approval workflows for things like paid time off (PTO) requests. Although Rippling offers “Recipes” or pre-built automation templates, the extra step of choosing and modifying the right recipe can be tedious for new HR software users. In this case, you would do better with BambooHR.

Plus, Rippling’s standard customer service options are relatively disappointing. As a first-timer, you might want to call and speak to customer service representatives to troubleshoot issues. Unless you purchase Rippling’s HR Help Desk module, professional employer organization (PEO), or employers of record (EOR) services, you’re limited to emailing or submitting a support ticket.

If you’re growing and want to layer on capabilities quickly without switching platforms, though, start with Rippling Unity first. You can scale Rippling Unity’s price tiers and add on modules, like headcount planning and performance management, as your people’s needs become more complex.

Want to learn more about Rippling’s capabilities? Check out our video overview below.

Workflow automation

Rippling Unity comes standard with Workflow Studio, a customizable automation builder. With it, you can automate processes for nearly every data field in the system.

Although GoCo offers something similar called Workflow Builder, it functions much more as a way to monitor task completion for a process among various collaborators. For example, it helps notify appropriate stakeholders when to perform tasks like reviewing promotions or completing reference checks.

In contrast, Rippling’s automation capabilities support “set it and forget it” workflows. For example, you can automatically assign training courses based on data like employee start date or role. Or you can automatically send reports to relevant stakeholders each month. This can make your HR staff much more efficient so they can focus on more strategic work, like improving employee retention.

Rippling displays a define trigger setup dialogue box with options to start a workflow based on a set date, frequency, and time.
Rippling Unity’s Workflow Studio lets you choose from nearly every employee data point for defining automation triggers and actions, allowing you to craft unique workflows without IT involvement. Source: TechnologyAdvice
Workforce insights

Rippling Unity allows you to customize reports and rich data visualizations, which is impressive compared to most basic HRIS platforms. Plus, as you upgrade to higher Rippling Unity plans or add on optional modules, its workforce analytics capabilities become more comprehensive and complex.

For example, Rippling lets you combine and manipulate data from three or more sources. This allows you to connect and draw insights about the data points that matter the most, like salary change trends relative to learning and development course completion. If you’re a spreadsheet whiz, you can use Excel-like formulas to construct your reports for even more granular conclusions.

Though Rippling’s analytics rival many human capital management (HCM) systems, they may be too complicated for some businesses. Rippling offers pre-configured report templates, but you must create the data visualizations you want yourself, which can take time to learn how to construct. On the other hand, GoCo forces you to start with a report template even if it would be easier to start from scratch.

Rippling displays a customized payroll report with total employee costs by work location in a bar chart above and a disaggregated spreadsheet below.
Rippling Unity’s analytics is much like an HR-specialized spreadsheet program, allowing you to aggregate data and create pivot tables and charts for more specificity. Source: TechnologyAdvice
PEO and EOR services

Rippling offers PEO and EOR services to support your business operations as they grow. While ADP and Deel HR also offer PEO and EOR services, Rippling differentiates itself by making these services more of a strategic choice for your immediate business needs rather than a long-term commitment.

For example, as a small business, you may only have one person looking after HR, accounting, and other administrative responsibilities. In that case, you can leverage Rippling’s PEO services to cover the tedious but necessary processes of HR, like payroll, without compromising labor law compliance.

As you grow and add more knowledgeable HR staff, however, you may no longer need Rippling’s PEO services. Rippling understands this and includes an easy on/off switch directly within the platform so you can sever PEO ties without any long-term contracts. This differs from other PEOs that rely on creating long-term partnerships with small businesses that have limited growth expectations.

The same flexibility extends to Rippling’s EOR services. For example, Rippling will help you transition to hiring, managing, and paying your international workforce once it makes sense for you financially to move these processes in-house. Rippling’s business model lets you transition between these different states, so you’re supported even when growth plans change.

Rippling Unity starts at $8 per employee per month (PEPM), but depending on your size and business needs, you may also have to pay an additional monthly base fee. Most third-party outlets indicate the base fee to be around $35 per month.

Rippling Unity offers several plans, with the main difference being access to advanced reporting, workflows, and its open API. The plans include Core, Pro, Unlimited, and Enterprise.

Rippling earned 2.88 out of 5 for pricing. It does well for scalability, including modules and services that you can easily add or remove to fit your needs. However, beyond noting a starting price for Rippling Unity, it lost points for not disclosing prices for any of its modules or services. Rippling also doesn’t offer a free trial, which is a drawback compared to other platforms.

Moreover, the starting price for its basic HRIS is quite high, despite lacking native payroll or time-tracking abilities. For example, Sage HR starts at $5.50 PEPM, while GoCo starts at only $5 PEPM. True, Rippling’s workflow, reporting, and compliance features certainly set it apart from traditional HRIS. However, it might be a little too much if you’re only looking to create an electronic system of record.

The chart below outlines Rippling Unity’s plans, add-on modules, and services.

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.

With a 4.06 out of 5 score, Rippling Unity is the most versatile HRIS software in my lineup. It can easily adapt to your business needs without relying on a patchwork of third-party HR applications or additional Rippling products to meet your requirements. However, Rippling’s HR, Finance, and IT cloud modules build upon and amplify Unity so it becomes more advanced as you grow.

That said, Rippling Unity lacks employee communication features that are critical to small businesses that don’t have budgets for apps like Slack. It doesn’t even include an in-app calendar for tracking employee days off; instead, it forces you to integrate with calendar apps like Google Calendar, Outlook, and iCloud Calendar to view this data.

As a result, Rippling Unity is best if you already have a collaboration tool of choice since it can integrate and even automate notifications within those platforms. This frees up time for lean administrative teams to juggle multiple priorities.

Learn more about Rippling

Rippling is also one of my favorite human resources management systems (HRMS) because it offers robust, native solutions and services to cover most HR needs without relying on third-party solutions and acquisitions.

You can explore some of the resources below to learn more about Rippling’s full range of capabilities.

GoCo: Best HRIS software for employee record-keeping


Pros

  • Ability to select authorized representatives to verify new hire’s I-9 identifications, including non-business personnel.
  • AI knowledge base to quickly search for information from uploaded documentation.
  • Optional HR support services to help small businesses minimize compliance risks.
  • Ability to test drive GoCo through its product tour to determine product fit.

Cons

  • GoCo requires you to sync payroll with your current provider or to embed payroll through its partnership with Gusto.
  • Modules like performance management, time-tracking, and HR support are add-ons.

Our Rating: 3.82/5

  • User reviews: 3.49
  • Pricing: 2.94
  • Platform and interface: 4.01
  • Core HR: 4.38
  • Workforce management: 3.58

Focusing solely on HRIS features, GoCo was the clear winner among the platforms I tested. I was particularly impressed with the software’s auditable document tracking and collaboration features, which earned a perfect 5 out of 5 score.

In addition to pre-built employee preboarding procedures like collecting I-9 and W-4 paperwork, you can also create custom fields that are uniquely relevant to your business in GoCo. For example, you can gather uniform sizes for frontline workers or fun facts to use during orientation training.

If you lack other collaboration apps like Microsoft Teams, GoCo’s homepage lets you send company-wide notifications for things like emergency closures and company events. And, if you add GoCo’s messages module, HR and office administrators can send emails and texts directly to employees within the app.

GoCo also anticipates and accommodates employees’ needs by allowing them to clock in and out of shifts, view upcoming holidays, and see PTO accruals directly from the homepage. Even its knowledge base AI assistant ensures employees don’t have to look through your company documentation to find your bereavement leave policy. No other platform I tested offers conversational AI capabilities.

Despite this, GoCo is very U.S.-centric, so you must invest in other platforms if you need to hire and pay international staff or contractors. Likewise, you will need to integrate with other platforms if you need payroll and recruitment functions, which could lead to difficult data silos long term.

Even so, GoCo is a strong choice for your first HRIS since it’s flexible enough to support teams in and out of the office.

Customizable documents

GoCo’s document management capabilities allow you to move away from paper processes by uploading paper documents and transforming them into fillable forms that collect legal eSignatures. You can even insert variable fields, like employee name and title, that populate dynamically for each person, reducing the time it takes to complete the form.

One of the most appealing features of GoCo’s Documents module is that you can drag and drop forms into its editor from multiple sources, including Google Drive. Even more unique, you can take a picture of your form and upload it directly within the platform — a helpful feature if you need to digitize old hard copies and don’t have access to a scanner.

GoCo’s documents dashboard displays a dropdown menu with options to upload documents by computer, Google Drive, Box, OneDrive, URL, and by taking a picture.
With GoCo, you have multiple ways to upload documents to transform them into electronically fillable forms, including by taking a picture. Source: TechnologyAdvice
Employee profiles

One of my favorite features in GoCo is employee profiles— specifically, its timeline feature. System administrators and managers can add shared or private notes, praise, or feedback within employee profiles to provide a historical record of their successes and stumbles.

You can even share notes with your manager in your profile, including personal achievements, challenges, and one-on-one meeting notes. 

GoCo is not a full-fledged performance management or employee engagement platform. However, these elements make it easier to track employee development, complete performance reviews, and keep employees invested in their own success.

GoCo’s timeline dashboard displays a list of changes by date for an employee named Charlie, including praise from a coworker and a professional achievement.
Managers can praise or offer suggestions for improvement to direct reports either privately or publicly in their profiles, allowing them to monitor their reports’ career growth over time. Source: TechnologyAdvice

Customizable workspaces

If you’re a small business trying to create consistency in a work process, GoCo’s customizable “spaces” module provides a simple way to centralize a business operation in one place. For example, you might have a space dedicated to expense management procedures. Within the space, you can access the form to request expense reimbursement or start a workflow for managers to collect and review receipts for approval.

In my case, I created a space to help streamline workplace injury procedures. I added widgets to start a workers’ compensation claim, access injury forms, and view workflow process analytics. If managers constantly ask HR staff what to do in certain situations or if you have process documents stored in multiple locations, this is an efficient way to centralize the information.

GoCo displays a workspace with widget icons on the left, a widget formatting window on the right, and a text block in the middle explaining how to start a company’s work comp process.
GoCo lets you drag and drop text, images, workflow buttons, tables, and visualizations into your space to create a home for any company work process. Source: TechnologyAdvice

GoCo’s pricing starts at $5 PEPM and has four tiers to choose from, depending on whether you need payroll and benefits administration support. Its lowest tier, Premium HR, comes with onboarding, employee self-service, document management, and simple PTO tracking. You can then add modules like performance management and time tracking.

GoCo scores 2.94 out of 5 for pricing. Although it is one of the more competitive on my shortlist for starting price, it falls short on scalability. As you add more people to GoCo, its features become unwieldy, and maintaining automated workflows becomes time-consuming. Its data analytics will also start to feel too basic as your processes become more complex.

However, GoCo is the most affordable to start with. If you have few employees and budgetary constraints, it’s the best choice. You can also test out the full capabilities of the platform in its product tour.

Here’s a breakdown of GoCo’s pricing:

Premium HR

Starts at $5 PEPM

  • Employee database.
  • Onboarding and offboarding.
  • HR document management and e-Signature.
  • Organizational chart and directory.
  • Company announcements.
  • AI knowledge base.
  • PTO tracking.
  • eNPS surveys.
  • Reporting.
  • Mobile application.

Premium HR + Benefits Admin

Everything in Premium HR, plus:

  • Enrollment self-service.
  • Event management and documentation.
  • Open enrollment administration.
  • Automatically calculated payroll deductions.
  • EDI feeds and carrier integrations.
  • ACA reporting.
  • 1094/1095 reporting and filing.

Premium HR + Payroll

Everything in Premium HR, plus:

  • Payroll processing.
  • Federal and state tax filing.
  • Configurable payroll grid.
  • Unlimited payrolls.
  • Employee paystubs.
  • Direct deposit or paper checks.
  • Automatic reconciliation and configurable general ledger.
  • W2, W4, 1099, and new hire filing.

Premium HR + Benefits Admin + Payroll

Includes all Premium HR, benefits administration, and payroll features.

Add-ons

  • Performance management.
  • Engagement surveys.
  • Recruiting (powered by JazzHR).
  • Advanced workflows.
  • Time management.
  • Advanced time off (PTO history and balances plus accrual calculations).
  • HR compliance.
  • Messages.

If your main goal is to move toward 100% electronic recordkeeping, GoCo is the best choice for digitizing paper files and creating a single source of truth for company processes. GoCo’s ability to automate employee data collection and self-service makes it second on my shortlist, scoring 3.82 out of 5.

While GoCo lost points for its lack of native payroll and lackluster reporting, they may not be issues if you have few employees or do your own payroll. You may also outsource your payroll and benefits administration already; if that’s the case, GoCo can be a great way to streamline those processes when sharing information with third-party providers.

BambooHR Core: Best HRIS software for employee experience


Pros

  • Self-service features, like employee profiles, organizational charts, and centralized notifications, reduce the need to ask HR professionals for this information.
  • Built-in calendar to see employee availability and vacation time for easier PTO management.
  • Out-of-the-box reporting and HR analytics for small businesses.
  • Access to more than 120 integration partners.

Cons

  • Payroll, time tracking, benefits administration, and performance management are add-on features for an additional fee.
  • No built-in scheduling tools.
  • Must purchase the Advantage plan for onboarding and offboarding modules.
  • Customer support in Essential Plan is limited to email.
The BambooHR logo.

Our Rating: 3.76/5

  • User reviews: 4.38
  • Pricing: 2.81
  • Platform and interface: 4.01
  • Core HR: 4.03
  • Workforce management: 3.75

BambooHR Core is BambooHR’s starter plan, with features like document retention, time-off management, onboarding, and access to standard pre-built reports and analytics. Its add-on features and intuitive interface make it one of the easiest HRIS for first-timers to learn.

One way BambooHR does this is by giving managers and individual contributors access to almost all of its capabilities on its mobile app. This is great for HR teams that travel between multiple locations and need a way to complete HR processes on the go. I particularly like how employees can request time off directly from the app’s homepage, which immediately notifies their manager.

You might also like BambooHR Core’s pre-configured approval workflows, reports, and permission sets. Besides speeding up the implementation process, it means less hassle if you’re a small business without clearly defined processes. Core also helps you learn best practices while standardizing your time-off approvals and other company policies.One of BambooHR Core’s benefits results from changes to its subscription plans in early 2024. Now, all customers have access to its applicant tracking system (ATS), which supports basic candidate sourcing, hiring funnel progression, and job offer management. It’s more manual than a standalone ATS, but it is enough if you only want one platform to manage both your incoming and existing employees.

Intuitive user interface

BambooHR is one of the easiest platforms to navigate as it uses a simple system of horizontal tabs to organize and access various people functions. It only takes one or two clicks to access the information you need. It also feels significantly less cluttered than alternatives like TriNet HR Platform and GoCo, which list every module and feature on the left rail without any meaningful categorization.

One of the best features of BambooHR is the ability to rearrange and edit your homepage with widgets meaningful to you. For example, if you want your company’s turnover report front and center, you can drag and drop it to where you want on your homepage.

Similar customization options are available in your employee profile, allowing you to move your various tabs — like Personal, Time Off, and Documents — in the order you want. If you have permission access, you can edit and add different fields within each tab, like your address, job, and salary fields in the Personal tab, to quickly access the information that applies to you.

See what BambooHR’s homepage looks like in our video overview:

Employee self-service

BambooHR Core emphasizes employee self-service to free HR staff from completing mundane data entry tasks, like updating an employee’s address. Core places the responsibility on employees to make these changes either on a desktop or within its mobile app.

If you purchase BambooHR’s Pro plan or other add-on modules like time tracking, the number of self-service options employees can access increases. Moreover, employees can access many self-service features directly from BambooHR’s homepage, such as requesting time off or clocking in and out of shifts.

While this may seem small, it makes it much easier for employees to complete everyday tasks with less effort. In contrast, clocking in for a shift on the desktop version of Rippling requires at least three clicks with its time and attendance module add-on. This adds unnecessary complexity to a common task, especially for tech-averse employees.

BambooHR homepage shows a list of to-dos on the right and views of goal progress, active trainings, benefit enrollments, and PTO accruals on the right, plus a button to request time off.
Employees can access self-service functions from their BambooHR Essentials’ homepages, such as requesting time off or accessing your team directory. Source: TechnologyAdvice

BambooHR overhauled its subscription plans in early 2024, changing its Essentials and Advantage tiers to Core and Pro. Core and Pro now come with more modules; in particular, Core customers now have access to onboarding and hiring, which BambooHR previously reserved for its Advantage subscribers.

The changes align Core with the other HRIS in my roundup, but it retains its 2.81 pricing score. This is because starting with Core is still quite expensive and doesn’t include fundamental HR functions like payroll and time-tracking, continuing to reserve those features as paid add-ons.

BambooHR only becomes competitive once you can take advantage of its volume discounts, but even then, other HRIS like GoCo and Gusto may be more affordable. BambooHR remains the better choice if you want a cohesive interface built upon native modules, but you should expect to pay more as a result.

Here’s a breakdown of BambooHR’s pricing structure:

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.

Special offer

Currently, BambooHR offers a 15% discount if you combine its payroll and benefits administration add-ons with its Core or Pro plans. Visit BambooHR below to learn more.

If you have both office and field employees with varying levels of digital literacy, BambooHR’s simple interface and quick access features make it stand out for the employee experience. Coming in with an overall score of 3.76 out of 5, BambooHR Core is an excellent HRIS for first-timers needing a single system of record for their people data.

BambooHR also consistently scored 3.5 or above in every category except pricing, illustrating its jack-of-all-trades HR feature set. While this makes BambooHR a highly accessible platform, it also means its various modules lack some of the features to support more complicated business scenarios, like global payroll.

But, if your goal is to implement and track your HR data processes, BambooHR is the easiest to start with.

Explore more BambooHR reviews

You can learn more about BambooHR by visiting my full product review or our top product lists below.

ADP RUN Essential: Best HRIS system for payroll


Pros

  • Variety of packages to serve startups and small businesses.
  • Extensibility via ADP add-ons and integrations.
  • Access to 24/7 customer support, even on its lowest price tier.
  • Various ways to pay employees, including on-demand pay through ADP’s Wisely paycard and check processing.

Cons

  • Essential and Enhanced packages lack proactive compliance alerts to help with potential labor law violations.
  • Time tracking, scheduling, and benefits administration are add-on modules.
  • Managers must download two mobile applications (ADP RUN and ADP Mobile Solutions) to complete mobile payroll and access employee self-service features.
  • Essential plan is only for companies with 1–10 employees.
ADP logo.

Our Rating: 3.76/5

  • User reviews: 4.34
  • Pricing: 3.13
  • Platform and interface: 4.38
  • Core HR: 3.63
  • Workforce management: 3.85

If you need only an HRIS with payroll, then RUN powered by ADP is a great way to start paying and handling your people operations electronically. It includes a basic employee records database, self-onboarding, and payroll processing.

RUN’s Essential tier also offers employment verification and background checks, services you typically need to outsource or integrate with third-party providers. As you scale RUN’s price tiers, you can access more small-business-friendly features, like salary benchmarking, job costing, handbook creation, state-mandated sexual harassment training, and a simple ATS.

However, RUN’s heavy focus on payroll comes at the cost of core recordkeeping and communication features. For example, its homepage features several widgets to start payroll or view past payroll totals. But it doesn’t have quick access buttons for employee self-service functions, like requesting time off, viewing your paystub, or clocking in and out.

Beyond a simple task list, the platform doesn’t include internal communication features like company announcements or a newsfeed. Document creation and storage are also reserved for its Complete plan and up. As a result, RUN scored the lowest in our roundup for its HRIS alone, at 3.5 out of 5.

Despite this, RUN integrates with over 150 applications, including popular time-tracking, scheduling, and collaboration apps, which can fill these functionality gaps. ADP also offers PEO, EOR, and outsourcing services to handle your payroll process for your small or non-existent HR or accounting teams. This frees up time for you to focus on the money-making aspects of your business.

User-friendly, multi-state payroll

ADP RUN lets you complete payroll in two steps. In step one, you enter all payroll data, including regular and overtime hours, PTO, expenses, bonuses, or other deductions. RUN will then flag any issues you need to resolve, like missing time information or direct deposits, before step two: preview and finalization.

You can also speed up the payroll process by importing your time data from a third party or adding RUN’s time-tracking module. If you have workers that you pay the same number of hours for each payroll, like salary-exempt employees and contractors, you can enable “RUN & Done” to have RUN automatically process payroll for you.

What’s great about RUN Essential is its variety of payroll features within its lowest price tier compared to others.

For example, unlike Gusto Simple, Essential lets you pay multiple work types in more than one state. Essential deducts and files all federal, state, and local taxes for you, unlike Patriot’s Basic Payroll. And Essential can print and deliver paychecks, so you don’t have to force your workers to have direct deposits or sign up for paycards, especially if they have personal, cultural, or religious objections to electronic banking.

A laptop shows ADP RUN’s homepage with a computer mouse clicking the run payroll button; the button and mouse appear artificially larger for emphasis.
RUN’s emphasis on payroll means you can start the process directly from your homepage and even calculate pay to write off-cycle manual checks.
Source: ADP
General ledger connection

Because RUN Essential has access to ADP’s General Ledger Interface (GLI), you don’t have to manually enter your data into your general ledger (GL) or download a CSV file. Instead, RUN creates GL journal entries and exports them into QuickBooks, Xero, Wave, or Creative Solutions for you.

The one rather tedious thing is that you have to remember to do this process after every payroll, as it does not automatically do so. It can also take a moment for ADP to export the information from its database, depending on the complexity of your payroll. But compared to other HRIS that lack integrated GL exports, this can help keep your small business bookkeeping in order.

Like all of ADP’s products and services, RUN does not disclose its pricing. However, you can choose from four different price plans: Essential, Enhanced, Complete, and HR Pro.

ADP RUN’s pricing is based on the number of employees, your payroll frequency, and the add-on modules you need. ADP RUN will invoice you after each payroll run, with a price of somewhere between $4 and $6 per employee per payroll cycle. For 25 people with a weekly payroll, I was quoted $135 per payroll for Enhanced and $150 per payroll for HR Pro.

The price will be much less for the Essential plan since it is for companies with 1–10 employees. Most third-party sources indicate RUN averages at about $79 per month plus $4 PEPM.

With the above in mind, ADP RUN is more expensive than an HRIS with just employee recordkeeping features. Despite that, ADP earned a 3.13 out of 5 for pricing because it offers a first three months free promotion and you can easily scale within the ADP product family.*

Moreover, ADP offers more payroll features to start than Gusto or Patriot Payroll while being cheaper than Paycor Basic. So, if you want an employee roster and payroll in one, going with RUN is your best bet.

Essential

Includes:

  • Multi-state payroll.
  • Automatic tax calculations and filing.
  • Employee self-onboarding.
  • ADP Wisely Direct Debit card access.
  • New hire reporting.
  • Background checks.
Enhanced

Includes everything in Essential, plus:

  • Garnishments.
  • State unemployment insurance management.
  • Job costing.
  • Job posting via ZipRecruiter.
Complete

Includes everything in Enhanced, plus:

  • Live HR support.
  • Employee Handbook Wizard.
  • Proactive compliance alerts.
  • Job Description Wizard.
  • Document creation and storage.
  • Salary benchmarks.
HR Pro

Includes everything in Complete, plus:

Add-on modules
  • Time and attendance.
  • ADP-brokered retirement services.
  • ADP-brokered health insurance.
  • ADP-brokered workers’ compensation.
  • Small business marketing toolkit by Upnetic.

*Note: ADP applies a credit to your invoice if you are in good standing with them after processing payroll for three months.

ADP RUN Essential is best if you have complicated payroll functions, like multiple payroll schedules, workers in numerous states, or various employee classifications. Its 24/7 customer service, add-on modules, huge integration library, and payroll services make it one of the most adaptable options for a new business.

Coming in at 3.73 out of 5, RUN Essential lost points for keeping most of its employee management features in its higher price tiers and for its lackluster analytics that are limited to payroll reports. However, its compliance-conscious features and ability to move between ADP products make it the best option if you expect your payroll needs to evolve significantly.

TriNet HR Platform Essentials: Best HRIS system for benefits administration


Pros

  • Native time-tracking and scheduling in all plans.
  • Mobile app supports everyday tasks like enrolling in benefits and submitting PTO requests.
  • Pre-built reports with AI-powered predictive analytics help with strategic decision-making.

Cons

  • Payroll, bring-your-own broker, and HR and payroll advisory services incur additional fees.
  • In-app Compliance Assistant only includes deadlines for federal HR, benefits, and payroll requirements, not state or local.
  • EDI carrier feeds are available only to companies with more than 50 employees.
The TriNet logo.

Our Rating: 3.69/5

  • User reviews: 3.86
  • Pricing: 2.88
  • Platform and interface: 3.06
  • Core HR: 4.15
  • Workforce management: 4.35

TriNet HR Platform Essentials is for companies that prioritize effective benefits administration. It provides the flexibility to use TriNet-brokered benefits at no additional cost or bring your own broker for an extra $5 PEPM. This is unlike other vendors in my top five, where benefits management is included in a higher price tier or as an optional add-on.

Besides benefits administration, HR Platform Essentials offers a fair amount of features in its base plan that others do not, like time tracking and scheduling. As you upgrade your subscription, you gain access to features such as compensation, performance, and employee engagement. This aligns with the HR features most companies need as they grow.

However, HR Platform ranks last in my shortlist for user experience; in particular, the interface is unintuitive, the setup is complicated, and the controls are surprisingly basic.

For example, HR Platform does not organize its HR modules by theme for easy navigation on the left rail. Instead, you must read all the apps on the left rail, which often results in excessive scrolling to find what you need, adding unnecessary time to switch between HR processes.

While HR Platform’s people analytics are more holistic than ADP RUN’s, they are clunky to use. First, you can’t preview any pre-built or custom reports directly in HR Platform; you must download and open them in a separate program that reads .xlsx files, making for a rather cumbersome experience. Plus, its predictive analytics to help forecast HR metrics like turnover aren’t available until its Growth plan and after you’ve accumulated at least two years’ worth of data.

Still, if you need an employee database with benefits, payroll, scheduling, and time tracking for a non-exempt hourly workforce, HR Platform Essentials with the payroll add-on is an affordable option.

Benefits administration

HR Platform Essentials includes its brokered medical, dental, vision, commuter, 401(k), health savings accounts (HSAs), and flexible spending accounts (FSAs) at no extra cost. You can also shop for plans with popular carriers like UnitedHealthcare, Cigna, and Blue Cross Blue Shield through TriNet’s Health Insurance Marketplace. There, you can even compare plans side-by-side and filter results that are compliant with the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

For additional fees, TriNet can also manage COBRA and send benefit enrollment changes to carriers through electronic data interchange (EDI) feeds. These, plus ACA employee eligibility monitoring, can help your HR teams completely automate benefits administration and ensure you remain compliant.

Another convenient tool is the ability for employees to connect apps, like Uber and Lyft, to their TriNet HR Platform mobile app to submit claims for their commuter benefits easily. Meanwhile, managers can monitor commuter and FSA invoices directly within HR Platform to understand the value of these programs.

TriNet’s Health Insurance Marketplace displays a dashboard with a list of ACA-compliant medical insurance plans with filters, like the number of workers, zip code, and employee average age filters, on the right to refine your search.
Exploring and comparing medical insurance plans on TriNet’s Health Insurance Marketplace. Source: TechnologyAdvice
Time tracking and scheduling

HR Platform offers time tracking and time-off management tools that sync with payroll, benefits, and scheduling. Besides making employee time management more efficient, it provides managers visibility over who’s at work and when. HR Platform also includes features like geolocation and picture-taking on its mobile app to prevent buddy punching and time fraud.

HR Platform Essentials’ scheduling tool is also unique for an HRIS. You can assign shifts, copy over schedules from previous weeks, and set up recurring shifts. This is great for small teams with basic shift schedules, but it is rudimentary if you manage multiple locations or require scheduling flexibility.

For instance, it cannot predict staffing needs based on historical data and cannot automatically schedule employees according to their availability, roles, or competency levels. It also doesn’t monitor breaks or shift lengths for minors, so you have to pay extra attention to ensure compliance with federal and state youth labor laws.

That said, if you want to consolidate your scheduling and time clock tasks in one system, HR Platform Essentials will standardize your processes to make them more reliable and efficient.

TriNet HR Platform displays its weekly schedule calendar with a pop-up window for adding a shift, plus fields to configure date, time, recurring shift days, and worker assignment.
You can set up recurring shifts within HR Platform to avoid manually entering the same ones every week. Source: TechnologyAdvice

TriNet HR Platform Essentials scored 2.88 out of 5 for pricing, dropping slightly from its previous score for its lack of a free trial following its branding change at the end of 2023. While it can be affordable for payroll and time tracking, this is if you have fewer than 41 employees. Otherwise, you’ll pay less by purchasing Gusto Plus, which includes payroll, time tracking, recruiting, and performance management modules.

HR Platform also has a five-employee minimum requirement, meaning you pay at least $40 monthly even if you only have one or two employees. This is costly if you’re only looking for a more efficient way to manage your employee database. In this scenario, it’s better to go with GoCo.

The HR Platform’s limited customization options and support for employees in multiple time zones make it less scalable than Rippling or ADP. Although this hurt its pricing score, if you don’t expect to expand internationally, this might be a non-issue.

HR Platform offers three plans — Essentials, Growth, and Zen — plus several add-on modules. Here’s a breakdown of TriNet’s pricing:

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 by JazzHR: Starting at $35/mo.

Note: New customers who subscribe to an annual contract and pay upfront will save 20% on their HR Platform plan for a limited time.

At 3.69 out of 5, TriNet HR Platform Essentials is a great choice if you need basic coverage for core HR processes like recordkeeping, payroll, time tracking, and benefits at a competitive price. In particular, its ability to compare various benefits online at your convenience without going through a broker can save you time searching for competitive benefits elsewhere.

Compared to other HRIS, TriNet HR Platform includes its brokered benefits administration in all its product tiers. If you want to provide your employees with benefits coverage at an affordable price and remain compliant with all relevant laws, HR Platform is one of the best options.

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, one of these might.

Gusto Simple: Best HRIS software for new businesses

Alternative for: ADP RUN Essential and TriNet HR Platform Essentials

When to choose Gusto Simple: If you’re new to HR software or running payroll for the first time, Gusto Simple is a great entry point into people management software. The interface is lean and easy to navigate. Besides being one of the most affordable payroll vendors, Gusto can also help you register your business in the states where you employ workers.

Why it didn’t make the list: Gusto’s core employee database is weak compared to others. For example, you can only store and send documents in Gusto Simple. Employees also can’t access an employee roster and organization chart unless you purchase Gusto’s Plus tier or higher.

Read a deeper comparison: Zenefits vs. Gusto

Gusto logo.

Our Rating: 3.65/5

Deel HR: Best HRIS software for global HR management

Alternative for: Rippling Unity

When to choose Deel HR: If you’re on a budget, have fewer than 201 employees, and are expanding internationally, consider Deel HR since it’s free to start. Like Rippling Unity, Deel HR localizes employee profiles for over 150 countries. You can even automate task lists and notification workflows similar to GoCo.

Why it didn’t make the list: Deel HR’s platform is much less feature-rich than competitors like Rippling. In particular, Deel HR lacks native time-tracking solutions, forcing you to integrate with third-party solutions. It also does not support project tracking for your contingent workforce.

The Deel logo.

Our Rating: 3.49/5

Bob: Best HRIS system for employee recognition and support

Alternative for: BambooHR

When to choose Bob: Choose Bob if you already have a payroll provider but want a user-friendly system that fosters employee engagement across distributed teams. I love Bob’s configurable homepages with an employee recognition newsfeed, a place to learn fun tidbits about coworkers, and an area to submit anonymous concerns to HR.

Why it didn’t make the list: Bob is elusive about its pricing and lacks native payroll and benefits administration functions. Although it has a stellar HRIS, you may pay more for your HR tech stack overall since you need to integrate with third parties to cover core HR and compliance functions.

Our Rating: 3.29/5

Human resources information system FAQs

A human resources information system (HRIS) is a centralized database that houses employee information, automates core HR functions, runs basic reports, and serves as a self-service portal for employees and HR staff. It’s best for businesses with one-person or small HR teams that only need essential HR functions like payroll, benefits administration, and time tracking.

Businesses moving away from traditional spreadsheet programs and paper processes usually start with an HRIS as their first HR platform and add-on features as they grow. Although all HRIS systems include a centralized and systematic way to manage employee data, some also come with other essential features, like leave management, payroll, and time tracking.

Unsure of what an HRIS can do for you? Learn about The Key Benefits of HRIS Software or check out our video below:

As a repository for employee data, the HRIS system houses various employee data to support the full scope of HR. There are five main types of HRIS: tactical, operational, strategic, comprehensive, and specialized.

Tactical HRIS supports HR in fulfilling basic aspects of employment, such as payroll and benefits management. These are the most typical types of information systems found in the solutions discussed here.

For example, Gusto includes tactical information systems to support both payroll and benefits administration, while BambooHR can perform those functions if you add them to its basic system.

Operational HRIS are those that support talent acquisition and talent management. The applicant tracking system (ATS) feature of some HRIS solutions helps with talent acquisition, while performance management, also typically an optional feature of an HRIS system, assists with talent management.

The ATS and performance management functionalities usually come standard in more complex human resources management systems (HRMS). If your company needs recruiting tools and performance management, check out our Top HRMS solutions that support talent management and retention.

Strategic HRIS, such as learning management systems (LMS), helps companies retain employees by filling necessary skills gaps and supporting employee experience and career growth. These are most often found in human capital management (HCM) solutions but are included in some HRIS and HR management software solutions as well.

If you’re looking for tools that support strategic HR functions, such as workforce analytics and talent development, check out our list of Top HCM vendors.

Comprehensive HRIS platforms bundle all of the functions above — or a combination of them — into one platform. All vendors described here are considered comprehensive information systems.

Limited-function or specialized HRIS systems focus on one or a few core information systems to support a narrow list of HR functions. JazzHR, for example, is a standalone operational information system that supports recruitment and integrates with other HR systems.

Learn more about the different types of HRIS in our video below:

How to choose the best HRIS systems

Several HRIS solutions are available today, making it tough to decide which one is the right fit. However, consider the below to help with your purchasing decision:

  • Choose Rippling Unity if you need a balance of core HR features and service options to support you as you grow.
  • Select GoCo if you’re looking to move all your people data to a digital platform.
  • Go with BambooHR Core if you prioritize a jack-of-all-trades HR platform that’s easy for your staff to learn.
  • Pick ADP RUN Essential if you have complex payroll and compliance needs.
  • Choose TriNet HR Platform Essentials if you want more robust and customizable benefits for your staff.

Not ready to buy yet? Check out our comprehensive HR Software Guide to compare more HRIS solutions.


Jessica Dennis Avatar

About the author


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