January 10, 2024

UKG vs ADP Comparison 2024

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Tags: HR

Key takeaways:

  • UKG Pro and ADP Workforce Now are two of the most popular software solutions for mid-sized businesses looking for an all-in-one HR suite.
  • UKG Pro targets businesses prioritizing an intuitive and benefit-rich experience for their employees, with the ability to add or remove features as necessary.
  • ADP Workforce Now is for fast-growing businesses needing scalable and flexible HR solutions at pace, such as advisory services as they move to a more international market.

Jan. 10, 2024: Jessica Dennis added a video overview to the page.

Aug. 4, 2023: We reviewed our analysis for accuracy and restructured the page to improve the visual flow of information.

We evaluated UKG Pro and ADP Workforce Now with your top priorities in mind. We used vendor demos, technical documentation, and user reviews from customers like you to compile our research. Our expert understanding of the HR software market then helps us contextualize and evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of each product.

Our criteria for this comparison included breadth and depth of functionality, technical complexity, scalability, and integrations. We also investigated each vendor’s pricing data to understand the point at which one product becomes more cost-effective than the other for businesses of different sizes.

As UKG Pro and ADP Workforce Now update their products, we review our information so you always receive the best insight for your purchasing decision.

UKG vs ADP: Which is better?

UKG Pro and ADP Workforce Now are two major human resources (HR) software solutions with comparable payroll, benefits administration, recruiting, onboarding, and performance management features. Both products target mid-to-large-size employers needing a range of customizable HR features in an all-in-one platform. However, where UKG Pro is tailored to businesses valuing a feature-rich and intuitive experience for their employees, ADP is mainly aimed at scaling businesses needing advisory support and the flexibility to add features as they grow.

Whether you’re looking to switch from UKG Pro to ADP Workforce Now or have narrowed down your list to these two, consider how they compare based on price and other top features. If neither meets your needs, check out our HR Software Guide for other solutions.

UKG Pro ADP Workforce Now
Pricing
Jump to comparison ↓
Quote based on number of employees and features needed; relatively expensive according to user reviews Quote based on number of employees, subscription tier, and add-ons needed; additional expenses for HR services
Payroll
Jump to comparison ↓
Basic functionality Basic functionality plus options for HR outsourcing or PEO services
Benefits administration
Jump to comparison ↓
Bring your own Bring your own plus personal recommendations
Recruiting
Jump to comparison ↓
Included in package Add-on with ZipRecruiter partnership
Performance management
Jump to comparison ↓
Included in package with an emphasis on continuous feedback and succession planning Add-on talent, learning, and compensation management modules with customizable review cycles and development courses
Try UKG Pro Try ADP Workforce Now

Rather watch a video overview of UKG and ADP? Check it out below.

UKG Pro: Better for mid-to-large-sized businesses focused on employee experience

The UKG logo.

With the merging of Ultimate Software Incorporated and Kronos Incorporated in 2020, the resulting Ultimate Kronos Group (UKG) is one of the largest human capital management (HCM) platforms on the market today. With software solutions suitable to businesses of varying sizes and needs, UKG Pro is geared toward mid-to-large-sized companies wanting to optimize the employee experience.

In every UKG Pro feature, UKG illustrates how it benefits the company and the employee. With employee-focused features like dynamic dashboards, mobile applications, career learning modules, financial wellness, and simplified benefits administration, UKG reduces the administrative burden on HR teams while ensuring the employee remains top-of-mind in every feature.

Pros

  • Robust people analytics tools.
  • Career development training courses through UKG Pro Learning.
  • Native workforce scheduling tool.
  • Native workforce and peer-to-peer communication tool with UKG Talk.
  • Automated email notifications on important events or metrics.
  • Customizable HR, payroll, talent management, and workforce management reports.
  • Financial wellness tools through UKG Wallet.
  • Access to UKG Ultimate Community for community and expert UKG software advice.

Cons

  • Slow customer service.
  • Costly and time-consuming implementation process.
  • Cumbersome user interface.
  • Unclear pricing model.

Also read: HRIS vs. HRMS vs. HCM

ADP Workforce Now: Better for scaling businesses needing flexibility

The ADP logo.

ADP is one of the world’s largest HR software companies, with over 70 years of experience. Similar to UKG, ADP offers a range of products, from standalone solutions for specific HR needs — like time and attendance or talent acquisition — to full-service, all-in-one human resources information systems (HRIS). ADP Workforce Now is one such HRIS, with tiered pricing, advisory services, and other add-on features to accommodate fast-growing businesses as they scale.

Pros

  • Tax assistance and error detection.
  • Benefits recommendation support in top two subscription tiers.
  • Unlimited document storage.
  • International payroll support in 140+ countries.
  • Voice of the Employee workforce communication and sentiment analysis in all subscription tiers.
  • Access to ADP Marketplace with over 704 integration partners.
  • Payroll to general ledger interface.
  • Access to HR outsourcing or PEO services.
  • HR assist add-on for employee handbook creation, job descriptions support, and HR employer helpdesk support.

Cons

  • Slow customer support.
  • Benefits administration only on enhanced and premium tiers. 
  • Workforce management tools (time-tracking, scheduling, and paid time off accruals) only on premium tier.
  • Scheduling only syncs with Microsoft Outlook.

ADP offers some of the most comprehensive HRIS products on the market, but it is not always the right solution for everyone. Check out our Top 6 ADP Vendor Competitors & Alternatives for comparable ADP products.

UKG vs ADP: A detailed comparison

Pricing

UKG and ADP do not disclose prices on their websites; interested buyers must contact their sales team for a quote. UKG Pro follows similar HR software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies, with employers paying a monthly fee based on the number of employees in their organization and the modules they need. In contrast, ADP Workforce Now has clearly defined subscription tiers and add-on modules, granting buyers some idea of their options before contacting ADP for a quote. 

Nevertheless, UKG and ADP’s hidden fees make it difficult to conclude which one offers the most value for the money. Businesses should, therefore, take note of their employee headcount and compare both platforms’ available features below to determine which one best satisfies their needs.

UKG Pro includes the following modules in their HRIS suite:

  • Human resources (organizational charts, employee personal information dashboards).
  • Payroll.
  • Talent.
  • Workforce management.
  • HR service delivery (employee self-service, document manager).
  • Compliance.
  • Reporting and analytics.
  • UKG Talk (workforce communication).

Compared to other UKG products, such as UKG Ready, UKG Pro includes more modules and advanced functionalities. The chart below indicates some core HRIS features and whether UKG Pro offers them:

UKG Pro
Subscription cost Per employee per month
Payroll Available
Recruiting Available
Onboarding Available
UKG-brokered benefits administration  Not available
Bring-your-own broker Available
Time-tracking Available
Performance management Available
Employee engagement Available
Reporting and analytics Available
Advisory services Add-on
Mobile app Available
Modules for specific industries, like healthcare, banking, and casinos Add-on

Despite hidden prices, users report that UKG Pro is an expensive solution for the features they receive. Third-party sources report that the price for UKG Pro is anywhere from $26 to $37 per employee, per month, based on employee headcount and included features. This means the price for a business with 100 employees could be anywhere from $2,600 to $3,700 per month or $31,200 to $44,400 per year. 

As a result, the price tag may be a deterrent for some businesses if they are not already using a UKG product and looking to graduate to their more advanced suite. On the other hand, with its expansive list of features — including those that automate repetitive HR tasks like onboarding — UKG Pro may be a more cost-effective solution than hiring another HR team member to handle increased workloads.

Like UKG, ADP does not disclose pricing on its website for its ADP Workforce Now product. However, ADP reveals that ADP Workforce Now has three subscription tiers and add-on modules. The chart below indicates the features companies can expect in each tier:

  Essential Enhanced Premium
Subscription cost Contact sales Contact sales Contact sales
Payroll Included Included Included
Recruiting Add-on Add-on Add-on
Onboarding Included Included Included
ADP-brokered benefits administration Add-on Add-on Add-on
Bring-your-own broker Not included Included Included
Time-tracking Not included Not included Included
Performance Management Add-on Add-on Add-on
Employee engagement Included Included Included
Reporting and analytics Included Included Included
Advisory services Add-on Add-on Add-on
Mobile app Included Included Included

Notably, benefits administration features are only included in ADP Workforce Now’s top two subscription tiers, while workforce management features, like employee time-tracking, are only included in its premium tier. This may be a turnoff for companies forced to pay for ADP Workforce Now’s premium tier to access these two features, compared to UKG Pro, which includes both modules standard.

In addition to the subscription tiers above, ADP Workforce Now includes the following add-on features for an additional price to any subscription tier:

  • Talent acquisition.
  • Performance management.
  • Compensation management.
  • HR regulatory assistance and support.
  • Analytics and enhanced insights.
  • Learning management.

Based on third-party sources, the price for ADP Workforce Now can range between $19 to $26 per employee per month, depending on employee headcount, subscription tier, and add-ons needed. The price range could be higher if a company wants to take advantage of any of ADP’s compliance or advisory services.

This means an employer with 100 employees could pay between $1,900 to $2,600 monthly or $22,800 to $31,200 annually for the platform. With this in mind, ADP Workforce Now is potentially more cost-effective than UKG Pro.

ADP Workforce Now. Here’s why. Although neither UKG Pro nor ADP Workforce Now discloses their prices, ADP is very transparent about features included in each subscription tier. As a result, companies can easily see which tier consists of the features they need and purchase any add-on modules as necessary.

In contrast, UKG Pro only indicates certain features are available and does not designate whether they are core features of the product or add-ons. This may mean UKG custom tailors their software packages to each business’s needs so companies avoid paying for features they don’t need.

Nevertheless, based on the data from third-party sources, users could still save with ADP Workforce Now, even if their bundled packages include unneeded features. Therefore, for businesses with tighter budgets and little need for more advanced functionality, ADP Workforce Now may be the better option.

Payroll

UKG Pro ADP Workforce Now
International payroll add-on Yes Yes
Mobile app Yes Yes
On-demand pay Yes Yes
Paycards Yes Yes
Tax support Yes Yes

UKG Pro and ADP Workforce Now offer comparable payroll software features, including expert tax support, on-demand pay capabilities, and an employee self-service mobile application. However, they differ primarily in their approaches to supporting payroll processes as companies move into international markets.

UKG Pro offers out-of-the-box payroll features, like employee mobile time-tracking that syncs with payroll processes, and compliance features, such as continuous software updates to support U.S. and Canadian payroll tax laws. Likewise, UKG keeps users apprised of compliance and regulatory changes through their online library, HR360.

UKG payroll dashboard.
With payroll safeguards, like employees with under or over hours, UKG Pro users can double-check they are paying employees appropriately. Source: UKG

Despite this, UKG Pro is limited in the scope of features offered for multinational corporations. Users must either work with a UKG-trusted third-party vendor in another country or purchase UKG Global Payroll, optimized for employees in 100+ countries. However, in either situation, companies must work directly or indirectly with a third-party vendor that runs payroll in that country, which could result in payroll delays.

Thus, considering UKG Pro’s price tag, multinational corporations may be disappointed in UKG Pro’s international payroll capabilities. For mid-to-large-sized companies growing rapidly, waiting for information on their international payrolls from third-party providers is inconvenient and could slow down the company’s accounting and HR processes.

Much of ADP Workforce Now’s payroll functionality is on par with UKG Pro’s: both offer tax compliance assistance, on-demand pay, pay card options for employees, and mobile device time-tracking capabilities that sync with payroll (if users select ADP’s Premium tier). However, where ADP differs the most from UKG is in its ability to support employers with a global workforce.

ADP Workforce Now, in combination with its ADP Celergo or ADP GlobalView Payroll, can provide payroll, benefits, and other workforce management support for employees in over 140 countries. Because of ADP’s long-established presence in HR software, many of these countries already have a local ADP presence. As a result, companies do not have to rely on indirect vendors to complete payroll on their behalf.

ADP payroll analytics.
Combining ADP Workforce Now with ADP’s other global payroll products gives users access to essential payroll data insights by country to make strategic workforce decisions. Source: ADP

Likewise, ADP provides human resources outsourcing (HRO) services or professional employer organization (PEO) options to companies to simplify payroll processes and ensure compliance with all federal, state, local, or global regulations. ADP’s software automates many rote payroll tasks while their HR services place a majority of employment law compliance on their shoulders. As a result, even lean HR teams can address massive payroll needs with little effort.

ADP Workforce Now. Here’s why. ADP Workforce Now has more flexible ways to support employers with international payroll needs. Because both UKG Pro and ADP Workforce Now provide nearly equivalent payroll features in their platforms, ADP’s international payroll capabilities and HRO and PEO services may be the deciding factor for organizations just starting their global presence and needing extra guidance and support.

Benefits administration

UKG Pro ADP Workforce Now
EDI Yes Yes
Mobile app Yes Yes
Financial wellness Yes Yes
Charity donation options Yes No
Compliance Yes Yes
Third-party broker support Yes Yes

UKG Pro and ADP Workforce Now are designed to accommodate employers with already established benefit plans. Both products integrate with major insurance carriers so employers can manage employee benefits plans, including employee enrollments, changes, terminations, or qualifying life events, directly in the software. These changes are then automatically communicated to carriers. 

However, UKG Pro’s approach to benefits administration is more employee-centric, concerned ultimately with aiding employees in making the right decisions for their particular situations. While ADP Workforce Now offers similar capabilities, it primarily focuses on providing features to help employers remain compliant.

With the acquisition of Everything Benefits by UKG in 2021, UKG Pro is optimized to support employer benefit plans through integrations with insurance carriers like Anthem, United Healthcare, and MetLife. UKG also supports self-service benefits for employees during all qualifying life events. Employees can compare benefit options side-by-side, receive personalized benefit plan recommendations based on their particular life circumstances, and even leverage videos and documents to educate themselves on the different plans.

UKG benefits summary dashboard.
In UKG Pro’s benefits dashboard, employees can easily view their benefits and access videos and other resources to make informed benefits decisions. Source: UKG

Additionally, employees can take advantage of financial wellness tools through UKG Wallet. Employees can track and pay upcoming bills, set savings goals, use in-app discounts, and even talk to financial coaches. Not only does this give employees knowledge about their finances when needed, but it also makes them feel supported by their employers in their financial health journeys. 

Finally, the UKG Pro Giving feature allows employees to donate to charitable organizations through one-time or recurring paycheck deductions. This is an excellent way to increase employee retention: employers give employees a chance to make a difference through their paychecks with minimal effort while simultaneously improving their company brand and reputation.

Similar to UKG Pro, ADP Workforce integrates with several insurance carriers, so it is easy for employers to set up their own benefits plans through the platform. Likewise, ADP Workforce now also offers an interview-based tool to assist employees in determining what benefits are right for them during specific trigger events, like new hire onboarding or open enrollment. ADP Workforce Now also provides similar financial wellness tools through ADP’s myWisely mobile application.

While compliance remains an essential factor in UKG Pro and ADP Workforce Now platforms, ADP contains extra safeguards to ensure companies follow all regulatory requirements. For example, sending COBRA notifications to employees for necessary trigger events like terminations are included in both ADP’s enhanced and premium tiers. UKG Pro users, on the other hand, must pay an additional cost for COBRA administration.

ADP benefits dashboard.
ADP Workforce Now’s benefits dashboard allows employers to remain compliant, such as quick access to documents auditing benefits coverage. Source: ADP

In conjunction with additional professional services, ADP Workforce Now may be more beneficial to companies with complicated workforce structures. Employers working out of multiple states and countries may need ADP’s extra hand-holding to understand and comply with competing tax and other benefit regulations.

It’s a tie. Here’s why: UKG Pro and ADP Workforce Now contain similar benefits administration features, so choosing one over the other is a matter of preference. For a richer, more supportive benefits experience for employees, companies should select Pro UKG for their financial counseling and charity giving options that ADP lacks.

On the other hand, employers with complex workforces may enjoy ADP Workforce Now’s additional benefits support options to help companies navigate compliance issues without needing to pay extra.

Recruiting

UKG Pro includes recruiting features as a standard module in its HRIS platform. In contrast, ADP Workforce Now users must pay extra for their talent acquisition add-on. Despite this, ADP Workforce Now’s talent acquisition management contains more enhanced functionality through their partnership with ZipRecruiter, such as a customized career site and access to over 25,000 job boards.

Recruiting
UKG Pro ADP Workforce Now
Native recruiting Yes Add-on
Career site no Yes
Job posting distribution Yes Yes
Social recruiting Yes Yes
Job board integrations Yes Yes
Recruiting-specific reports Yes Yes

UKG Pro contains many staple recruitment software features, such as:

  • Distribution to over 3000 job boards with UKG’s partners.
  • Generation of offer letters based on pre-made templates.
  • Screening questions to narrow down the candidate field.
  • Pre-employment background checks.
  • Data transfer for smooth onboarding.

Compared to ADP Workforce now, UKG Pro’s recruiting is more focused on facilitating an easy application experience for potential candidates. For example, UKG Pro accommodates job descriptions in multiple languages so candidates of varying backgrounds can easily view and apply for positions, broadening a company’s job posting reach.

Additional features, like integrations with LinkedIn for résumé parsing and Google, Microsoft Exchange, and Microsoft Outlook for interview calendar syncing, allow candidates to apply and track their job statuses easily. By simplifying the application process, UKG Pro ensures employers retain a healthy supply of candidates to satisfy their various recruitment goals.

UKG job opportunities dashboard.
UKG Pro allows companies to share job opportunities both internally and externally to maximize recruitment efforts. Source: UKG

Unlike UKG Pro, ADP Workforce Now users must pay an extra fee to add talent acquisition to a core subscription tier. However, through its partnership with ZipRecruiter, ADP Workforce Now users can access automations and larger talent pools compared to UKG Pro users.

For example, ADP Workforce Now automatically distributes job posts to over 25,000 job boards. In addition, ADP users take advantage of ZipRecruiter’s artificial intelligence (AI), which searches for qualified candidates for company job posts and invites them to apply.

Employers can also increase candidate engagement through custom career sites and text messages and video communication with candidates. For employers with high-volume hiring needs and small HR teams, ADP may be the perfect choice to find qualified candidates fast.

ADP recruitment dashboard.
Through ADP Workforce Now’s partnership with ZipRecruiter, HR teams can quickly find qualified candidates to satisfy their hiring needs. Source: ADP

ADP Workforce Now. Here’s why. Despite being an add-on, ADP Workforce Now’s Talent Acquisition has significantly more functionality than UKG due to its partnership with ZipRecruiter. With AI capabilities and an extensive job post distribution network, ADP can easily support HR teams with consistent or critical hiring needs.

Performance management

Similar to recruiting, UKG Pro already includes a performance management module as part of its overall suite. ADP Workforce Now customers, on the other hand, must purchase performance, compensation, and learning management modules as additional features to any of their subscription tiers.

Despite this, both platforms offer similar talent management features, from continuous feedback to performance cycle management, learning and development courses, and goal setting and tracking.

Performance Management
UKG Pro ADP Workforce Now
Performance review cycles Yes Add-on
Goal setting and tracking Yes Add-on
Continuous feedback Yes Add-on
Career development support Yes Add-on
Compensation management Yes Add-on
Sentiment analysis Yes Yes
Succession planning Yes Add-on

Included in UKG Pro’s suite are several essential performance management features, such as:

  • Goal tracking.
  • Continuous feedback.
  • 360-degree reviews.
  • Performance and compensation review cycles.
  • Training courses.

What sets UKG Pro’s talent management apart from ADP Workforce Now, however, is its emphasis on coaching and upskilling current employees. For instance, UKG Pro users can create a branded training academy with training courses featuring customized, third-party, or pre-built lessons for employees to access on their schedule. In addition, employers can utilize the academy to issue required, organization-wide training or support individual employees’ career goals.

Similarly, UKG Pro’s platform encourages managers and employees to develop meaningful one-on-one meetings through centralized meeting notes and the ability to request feedback anytime. This keeps employees apprised of their performance and fosters trust in the organization, as employees are free to engage in performance follow-ups on an ongoing basis.

UKG coaching dashboard.
With UKG Pro, managers can provide feedback on a continuous basis so employees are always aware of where they are excelling and where they need to improve. Source: UKG

ADP Workforce Now offers similar features to UKG Pro for talent management, including the following: 

  • 70,000 pre-built development courses.
  • Employee self-enrollment in training courses. 
  • Goal assignment and tracking.
  • Sentiment analysis surveys. 
  • Performance and compensation review cycles.

However, what differentiates ADP from UKG is that ADP’s performance management approach focuses on providing employers with the tools to make strategic workforce decisions.

For example, HR managers can take advantage of market insights through data from over 30 million employees during performance and compensation review cycles. With this information, managers can make sure that employees’ pay, bonuses, merit increases, and stock awards remain equitable and competitive within their industry. For employers concerned with increasing turnover rates, this employee data could be the first step in improving retention efforts.

ADP evaluation dashboard.
ADP Workforce Now gives employers actionable insights, such as rating distribution charts, to assist employers in making calculated decisions to improve workplace performance. Source: ADP

UKG Pro. Here’s why. UKG Pro already includes performance, compensation, and learning management modules in their all-in-one suite — in contrast, ADP Workforce Now users must purchase these add-on features separately. Moreover, UKG Pro’s coaching, feedback, and upskilling features are great ways for organizations to motivate underperforming employees and foster cultures of continuous improvement.

UKG vs ADP: Ready to choose?

UKG Pro and ADP Workforce Now are two of the biggest names for midsize businesses looking to consolidate their HR tech stack for a more streamlined experience. However, choosing the right one depends on what HR software aspects are most important to you.

For a more intuitive, employee-focused experience, choose UKG Pro for its benefit packages and focus on employee career development. For fast-growing businesses needing flexible solutions to accommodate them as they scale, choose ADP Workforce Now for its advisory services and breadth of product add-ons.

However, if none of these solutions fit, check out our HR Software Guide to browse other software on the market.


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