What is HR software?

Human resources (HR) software systems unify administration, recruitment, payroll, training, employee engagement, performance management, and other essential HR functions. This provides a secure database of employee data and a centralized view of a company. It also helps HR teams effectively manage each stage of the employee life cycle.

The right HR software solution can help optimize processes by automating manual tasks, organizing employee records, and building data-driven reports. Moreover, advanced HR software solutions enable better workforce planning, financial forecasting, and strategic decision-making.

I reviewed 10 human resources software solutions and narrowed them down to the best of the best:

  • ADP Workforce Now is the best HR software overall.
  • Gusto is the best HR software for startups.
  • BambooHR is the best HR software for small businesses.
  • Rippling is the best HR software for midsize companies.
  • SAP SuccessFactors HXM is the best HR software for large enterprises.
  • Honorable mentions:
    • Deel is the best HR software for global companies.
    • Workday HCM is the best HR software for workforce planning.
    • Paylocity is the best HR software for growing businesses.
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Our picks for the best HR software

Overall score

Best for

Starting price

Company size**

ADP logo.

ADP Workforce Now

3.84

Overall

$18–$27/employee/mo.*

50–999 employees

3.36

Startups

$40/mo. + $6/employee/mo.

0–250 employees

BambooHR logo.

BambooHR

3.48

Small businesses

$250/mo. for first 25 employees

1–300 employees

Rippling logo.

Rippling

3.95

Midsize companies

$8/employee/mo.

2–2,000 employees

Sap logo.

SAP SuccessFactors HXM

4.15

Large enterprises

$75.60/user/yr.

1,000+ employees

3.40

Global companies

$19/employee/mo.+

0–500 employees

Paylocity logo.

Paylocity

3.74

Growing businesses

$18–$25/employee/mo.*

50–500 employees

Workday HCM logo.

Workday HCM

4.13

Workforce planning

$99/employee/mo.*

300–1,500+ employees

*Based on third-party sources.

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

*Starting price for Deel U.S. Payroll.

My top choices result from eight years of professional experience in HR administration and two years of researching and writing about the HR software market.

After curating a comprehensive list of products to review for this guide, I spent weeks conducting hands-on testing through free trials and demo recordings. I also researched user reviews, software specifications, and support articles for each product to be sure my research was thorough. At the end of my testing, I narrowed the list to the best products that support businesses of varying sizes based on the factors that matter most.

In other words, I picked my recommendations with your business concerns in mind.

As the market changes, I reevaluate my choices so you always receive the best insights for your purchasing decision. Any changes to the scoring, product details, or analysis will be reflected in the update notes log.

Below is a breakdown of the criteria I used to judge each software. Each category also includes my expert score, which considers the effectiveness of that area based on my personal usage. ​

Workforce management: 24%

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 24% 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.

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: 15%

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 15% 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 and customizable reports and dashboards earned the top marks. Core HR comprises 15% of the software’s total score.

Learning and development: 12%

Because effective learning and development features can lead to more productive and motivated employees, this category accounts for 12% of the platform’s total score. I considered each solution’s onboarding and offboarding capabilities, performance appraisal customizations, and training assignments and tracking for my analysis.

Talent acquisition: 8%

As your company grows, you’ll need HR software with native recruitment features to address your talent needs. HR software with candidate sourcing, screening tools, and interview management scored the highest. I also considered additional capabilities like global support, automated ATS pipeline movement, and AI features in my expert score. Talent acquisition makes up 8% of the total score.

Employee relations: 6%

Employee relations comprise 6% of the software’s overall score and include employee engagement and communication features. Platforms capable of surveying or monitoring employee wellbeing scored best. I also examined whether the platforms offered internal communication functions, like company newsfeeds or recognition features, to enhance the employee experience.

User reviews: 5%

User reviews from third-party software platforms like Capterra, G2, and TrustRadius 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.

Software reviewed

  • Jul. 18, 2024: Jessica Dennis updated the scores for all platforms following changes to how we score module inclusions for the learning and development and employee relations criteria. She also adjusted scoring criteria weights, with higher values for benefits administration, talent acquisition, and performance management and a lower value for user reviews. Finally, Jessica also reviewed two additional platforms, Paylocity and Deel. As a result, Paylocity and Deel replaced Paycor on her honorable mentions list.
  • Jun. 10, 2024: Jessica Dennis adjusted scores for all platforms following minor changes on how we score module inclusions in the performance management subcriteria. The user reviews criterion now considers the number of reviews each software receives on third-party sites — platforms with more reviews on these sites receive more favorable scores.
  • Finally, Jessica updated the scores for Bob and Rippling following the release of Bob’s Hiring module and Rippling’s Goals and News Feed modules. She also revised the copy to reflect these new feature evaluations.
  • Apr. 30, 2024: Jessica Dennis adjusted each vendor’s scores following minor changes in our rubric for user ratings and how we score module inclusions. Finally, she ensured pricing was accurate for all platforms, including adding new prices for each SAP SuccessFactors module and new promotion details for Gusto.
  • Apr. 8, 2024: Jessica Dennis updated the scoring and rewrote the pricing section on BambooHR to reflect its new subscription plans. She also updated the copy and pricing throughout the article for improved readability and skimmability.
  • Feb. 26, 2024: Jessica Dennis revised the copy in the FAQ section. She also made minor revisions throughout the article copy and added links to relevant pages. Finally, she added a note about the new BambooHR subscription plans.
  • Jan. 31, 2024: Jessica Dennis added gallery images for BambooHR and Rippling plus subcriteria ratings for each product in the top five.
  • Jan. 22, 2024: Jessica Dennis added honorable mentions for Workday HCM and Paycor. She also corrected the overall score for Gusto from 3.14 to 3.11 because further research confirmed it lacks tools in its ATS for managing in-app interview scheduling.
  • Dec. 29, 2023: Jessica Dennis reevaluated our top choices for 2024 with an objective scoring rubric. As a result, Rippling replaced Namely as our pick for midsize companies, and Gusto replaced Bob for startups. Jessica also provided fresh analysis and up-to-date product information and pricing for all vendors.
  • Nov. 14, 2023: Kaiti Norton clarified our recommendation analysis for Namely and SAP.
  • Nov. 8, 2023: Kaiti Norton updated Namely’s pricing information to reflect the company’s new pricing structure.
  • Nov. 6, 2023: Kaiti Norton updated Rippling’s section to clarify that the company supports businesses that are entirely based in the U.S. as well as international companies.
  • Oct. 25, 2023: Kaiti Norton added information about Bob’s pricing.
  • Oct. 16, 2023: Kaiti Norton added information about BambooHR’s pricing and made minor design tweaks to improve the page’s accessibility.
  • Sept. 26, 2023: We performed some technical maintenance to resolve user experience issues.
  • Sept. 19, 2023: We added information about Namely’s pricing. We also added a star rating to each of our editorial recommendations to offer more visual cues for comparison.
  • Sept. 7, 2023: We added information about SAP SuccessFactors’ pricing structure.
  • Aug. 28, 2023: We refined the pros and cons for each vendor.
  • Aug. 24, 2023: We reordered our list of top HR solutions from biggest to smallest. We also added a screenshot gallery for BambooHR and information about Rippling’s one-month free trial offer.
  • Aug. 17, 2023: We added a screenshot gallery for ADP.
  • Aug. 8, 2023: We added advice for getting executive buy-in for HR software.
  • Jun. 12, 2023: We refined the layout of the page and added dynamic design elements to improve the visual flow of information. We also added a screenshot gallery for Rippling and Bob.
  • Jun. 1, 2023: We reviewed our recommendations and revised each vendor’s pros and cons lists to preserve our editorial objectivity. We also simplified the page layout for easier navigation and implemented additional opportunities to connect directly with the software vendors we recommend.
ADP logo.

ADP Workforce Now: Best HR software overall

Overall score

3.84/5.00

User scores

4.43/5.00

Pricing

3.13/5.00

Platform/interface

4.25/5.00

Core HR

4.06/5.00

Workforce management

3.85/5.00

Talent acquisition

3.13/5.00

Learning and development

3.91/5.00

Employee relations

3.88/5.00

Pros

  • Optional HR advisory services for enhanced compliance.
  • Extensive product line for fast-growing companies.
  • Global payroll support for over 140 countries.
  • Robust time and scheduling features, like geolocation and automatic schedule creation.

Cons

  • Benefits administration is only available on the Plus plan and higher.
  • Time and labor management is only available at the highest price point.
  • Steep learning curve for new users.
  • Users report slow customer service and turnaround times.

Why I chose ADP Workforce Now

ADP Workforce Now is a great mid-tier HR software that bridges the gap between simple human resources information systems (HRIS) and full-scale human capital management (HCM) platforms. In particular, Workforce Now’s add-on modules, massive product and services catalog, and open API make it stand out among competitors.

True, Workforce Now lost points for its hard-to-navigate interface and for forcing users to purchase its top plans for access to workforce management and benefits administration modules. Despite this, the depth of features of each module and the option to keep all your data in one place can be worth the investment. Dedicated software training during implementation also helps reduce the platform’s learning curve.

Plus, access to self-service features in its higher plans, like requesting time off or a benefits decision tool, improves the employee experience. Employees can use one platform for all of their needs instead of jumping from one to the next, creating a disjointed experience and data silos.

ADP Workforce Now is an all-in-one human resources management system (HRMS) with a range of features to support the employee life cycle from recruitment to separation. Its add-on modules, customization options, and massive integration library make it the best HR software overall.

Don’t let ADP Workforce Now’s 3.80 score fool you; its score reflects how the platform straddles the line between the needs of both small and large businesses. Here’s how:

The sheer number of add-ons, services, and features of ADP Workforce Now make it a highly scalable platform if you’re looking to stay with one HR vendor through the entirety of your company’s growth journey.

ADP Workforce Now limitations
  • Critical HR functions in most expensive plans: Benefits administration and time-tracking are in its Plus and Premium tiers, respectively.
  • Old-fashioned interface: It does not have the modern look of its competitors like Rippling and BambooHR, making it hard to navigate between modules and find particular features.
  • Lengthy new hire setup: Adding a new employee to the system is unintuitive and requires several manual steps to start.
What’s the right ADP product for me?

ADP Workforce Now is best for small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with over 50 employees but less than 1,000. Although this makes it an excellent option for most, startups and enterprises might want to look for leaner or more robust alternatives.

ADP’s vast product catalog means there are solutions for all companies, regardless of size or industry, but finding the right product for your company can be intimidating. If Workforce Now doesn’t seem like the right fit, one of these alternatives might be better.

Roll by ADP

Best for solopreneurs or small businesses with 2–10 employees. Although Roll is not a full HR suite, its simple mobile-only interface is best if you have a non-existent HR team and only need an employee database and payroll. If you’re particularly tech-averse, Roll’s unique AI chat function makes it easy to run payroll all from a simple text conversation.

RUN Powered by ADP

Best for businesses with 2–49 employees. RUN offers basic payroll and tax support. In its higher price tiers, you can also access unemployment insurance management, a basic applicant tracking system (ATS), handbook creation, and a learning management system (LMS).

ADP Vantage HCM

Best for businesses with over 1,000 employees. ADP Vantage HCM is a human capital management (HCM) suite that offers advanced HR capabilities, particularly in workforce analytics. Although ADP Vantage has features similar to RUN and Workforce Now, it focuses on using your huge people dataset for more strategic decision-making, like minimizing business costs.

Breadth of integrations

ADP Workforce Now clients have access to ADP Marketplace. Here, you can find solutions to integrate with ADP Workforce Now and consolidate your data among your entire HR tech stack.

With integrations available for performance management, time tracking, employee engagement, recruiting, learning management, and financial wellness, you do not have to sacrifice the HR platforms you already use to start with ADP.

Robust payroll functionality

ADP is well-known for its advanced payroll features that fit various business needs. You can easily create multiple payroll schedules from ADP Workforce Now’s payroll dashboard to cover different employee classifications. Plus, once you finalize payroll, you can click a button and automatically prepare and download a general ledger file to upload into your accounting system.

ADP also accommodates more industry- or company-specific payroll needs. For example, if you’re a federal contractor, ADP can help you run certified payroll. Or, if you’re in a service industry like food or hospitality, ADP can calculate tip credits for your service staff to reduce the likelihood of payroll errors.

ADP Workforce Now payroll dashboard.
From ADP Workforce Now’s payroll dashboard, you can view all your past and upcoming payroll schedules and complete a step-by-step checklist to ensure accurate employee payments. Source: ADP
Employee engagement

ADP Workforce Now scored the highest in my roundup for employee relations at 3.63 out of 5 — rivaling only that of SAP SuccessFactors HXM. Its Voice of the Employee module in all price tiers sets it apart as it features employee surveying and internal communication capabilities.

Besides company announcements and reminders, Voice of the Employee enables you to automatically send surveys to employees, such as after onboarding. This way, you can monitor employee sentiment and improve company culture with little administrative effort, even if you opt for ADP Workforce Now’s lowest-price plan.

ADP survey insights.
Voice of the Employee automatically draws insights from survey results to simplify future action planning. Source: ADP

ADP Workforce Now scored a 3.13 out of 5 for pricing because it does not reveal its cost, requires a long-term contract, and does not offer a free trial. However, third-party sources indicate that it can cost anywhere from $18–$27 per employee per month (PEPM), depending on your base plan and the number of add-on modules you choose.

Additionally, many of ADP Workforce Now’s essential HR software features are reserved for higher subscription plans or add-ons. Hiring, for example, is a paid add-on, while benefits administration is in its Plus tier. I’d look to Gusto if you want all core HR capabilities at an affordable price or take advantage of third-party solutions that integrate with ADP Workforce Now instead.

ADP Workforce Now plans

Select

Plus

Premium

Includes:

  • Payroll and tax.
  • Basic reporting and analytics.
  • Onboarding/offboarding workflows.
  • Employee virtual assistant and task reminders.
  • Voice of the Employee (employee engagement surveys).
  • Digital recordkeeping and unlimited storage.

Includes everything in Select and:

  • Benefits administration.

Includes everything in Plus and:

  • Time tracking.
  • Leave management.
  • Scheduling.

ADP Workforce Now add-on modules

  • Talent acquisition.
  • Performance management.
  • Compensation management.
  • HR assist (regulatory compliance assistance).
  • Analytics and enhanced insights.
  • Learning management.

Is ADP Workforce Now the right fit?

ADP is one of our favorite HR software vendors, featuring in many of our top product pages and comparisons. For more information on Workforce Now’s capabilities, check out some of our articles below:

Gusto logo.

Gusto: Best HR software for startups

Overall Score

3.6/5.00

User scores

4.26/5.00

Pricing

3.25/5.00

Platform/interface

3.76/5.00

Core HR

3.49/5.00

Workforce management

3.77/5.00

Talent acquisition

1.75/5.00

Learning and development

3.03/5.00

Employee relations

2.19/5.00

Pros

  • Unlimited automated payroll runs.
  • Discounted contractor-only plan available.
  • Gusto-brokered health insurance at no extra cost.
  • Customer support is available via phone, email, and chat.

Cons

  • Limited reporting and analytics functionality.
  • Native time tracking and workforce costing are only available on the Plus plan and higher.
  • Lacks internal communication features.

Why I chose Gusto

Of all the software I evaluated, Gusto is the most approachable platform for first-time business owners new to HR software. Its affordable price, full customer support, and tools to comply with laws like the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and COBRA stand out as critical features for startups with strict budgets and no HR staff.

With a score of 3.36 out of 5, Gusto also impressed me with its modern, no-frills interface, which made it easy to complete HR tasks like running payroll or requesting feedback with a few clicks. Although it doesn’t support direct chat, company announcements, or customized profiles to foster an employee community, Gusto does integrate with other popular solutions like Slack and Bonusly if that’s a priority for your startup.

Gusto is best known for payroll, but it also offers features to accommodate broader small business HR needs. If you’re a startup with limited funding, Gusto’s lowest-price plan includes all your critical HR processes — like payroll and benefits administration — at one of the most competitive prices on the market.

Gusto offers easy-to-understand instructions for creating an account, setting up an employee roster, and processing payroll. It even provides links to help you set up your federal employer identification number (FEIN), a timeline, and a downloadable checklist of the tasks you must complete before running your first payroll. Plus, its user-friendly UI makes it easy to create workflows and find the information you need to start managing and paying your employees quickly.

Gusto limitations
  • Poor recruitment capabilities: Its ATS forces you to progress or disqualify candidates manually and doesn’t support email templates for faster communication with candidates.
  • Limited scalability: As your headcount grows, its lack of advanced automations, customization, and data visualizations can make it cumbersome and create process inefficiencies.
  • Global employee support: Its EOR services through its partnership with Remote are only available in Australia, Canada, India, Mexico, the Philippines, and the United Kingdom.

Support for contingent workers

Besides a contractor-only plan, Gusto has several features to support a primarily contingent workforce. This includes automatic 1099 filing and project-specific time tracking. Gusto also supports contractors in more than 120 countries, so you can feel comfortable hiring talented freelancers worldwide as you build your business.

A unique feature of Gusto is the ability for contractors to request and receive feedback and set and track their own performance goals within the platform. This is a great way to monitor contingent workers’ effectiveness and productivity while allowing them to voice concerns that may impact company procedures and policies.

Gusto performance review.
From the team members or performance tabs, you can request feedback from your contingent workers for a holistic view of team sentiment. Source: TechnologyAdvice
Tax compliance

Gusto automatically deducts and files your employees’ federal, state, and local taxes and completes end-of-year 1099 and W-2 filings. For a small fee, Gusto can even help register your company for state and local taxes as you expand or hire talent in different states.

Moreover, if you receive a notice from the IRS or other tax authorities that you’re unfamiliar with, Gusto can investigate the notice on your behalf. This can save you time from keeping track of and responding to these critical documents yourself.

Gusto tax notice report.
You can report any tax notices you receive in Gusto without consulting a third-party accountant or tax expert for assistance. Source: ​​TechnologyAdvice

Gusto scored 3.25 out of 5 for pricing, the highest of any in my roundup. This is because Gusto has transparent pricing, offers discounted pricing or waived fees in its higher-tiered plans, and offers some of the best value for your money. 

Gusto struggles with scalability because it lacks advanced HR tools to help segment your people data by location, department, or division. If your startup grows exponentially, you may want to pay more and start with tools like Rippling or ADP Workforce Now instead. Gusto is great if you want quick implementation, but I’d check out its free interactive demo to determine if it has the right amount of functionality before purchasing.

Gusto subscription plans

Simple

Plus*

Premium

Price

$40/mo. + $6 PEPM

$80/mo. + $12 PEPM

Contact sales

Features

  • Single-state payroll.
  • Full support.
  • Self-service.
  • Gusto-brokered health insurance.
  • Basic hiring and onboarding.
  • Reports for payroll and time off.
  • Accounting, time tracking, and expense management integrations.

Everything in Simple, and:

  • Multi-state payroll.
  • Advanced hiring and onboarding.
  • Time off management.
  • Time tracking.
  • Project tracking.
  • Performance reviews.
  • Employee surveys.
  • Workforce costing.

Add-on to plus plan:Priority support and HR resources for $8 PEPM.

Everything in Plus, and:

  • Dedicated CSM.
  • HR templates for handbooks, job descriptions, and policies.
  • Proactive federal and state labor law compliance alerts.
  • Access to HR experts.
  • Health insurance broker integration.
  • Priority support.

Gusto add-ons

  • International contractor payments: Price varies by foreign exchange rate.
  • State tax registration: Prices vary by state.
  • R&D tax credits: Pay 15% of identified tax credits.
  • Gusto Global: $599 PEPM (limited time offer until 12/31/24; then $699 PEPM).
  • Health insurance broker integration: $6 per month per eligible employee.
  • 401(k) retirement savings: Price varies by 401(k) integration.
  • Health Savings Accounts (HSAs): $2.50 per month per participant.**
  • Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs): $4 per month per participant, with a $20 per month minimum.**
  • Dependent care FSAs: $4 per month per participant, with a $20 per month minimum.**
  • Commuter benefits: $4 per month per participant, with a $20 per month minimum.**
  • Health insurance: Price of premiums only.
  • Workers’ compensation: Price of premiums only.
  • Life and disability insurance: Price of premiums only.

*For a limited time, customers who choose the Plus plan will save 25% for their first three months; subscription costs become $60 per month plus $9 PEPM and priority support is $6 PEPM.

**Annual $200 service charge covers HSAs, FSAs, dependent care FSAs, and commuter benefits.

Other HR solutions for startups

The needs and budget of every startup are different. If Gusto doesn’t seem the right fit, you can check out 5 Best HR Software for Startups. I also recommend the following two platforms that specifically address the features that Gusto lacks.

Bob

Overall score: 3.20/5.00

Bob offers exceptional employee engagement and customization tools to foster connection among distributed teams. While it lacks a native payroll module for the U.S., as of 2024, it does offer an applicant tracking system (ATS). It also integrates with big names like ADP. Plus, its sandbox feature allows you to create and test new workflows before rolling them out to the rest of your organization, a valuable tool as your processes evolve.

TriNet HR Platform

Overall score: 3.32/5.00

Need time tracking and scheduling? If you have fewer than 40 employees, TriNet HR Platform’s Essentials plan with the payroll add-on costs less than Gusto Plus. This is an excellent benefit if you need to monitor business coverage levels, run payroll, and provide employee benefits on a tight budget. Learn more about the similarities and differences between TriNet (formerly TriNet Zenefits) and Gusto in our deep-dive comparison.

BambooHR logo.

BambooHR: Best HR software for small businesses

Overall score

3.48/5.00

User scores

4.32/5.00

Pricing

2.81/5.00

Platform/interface

4.01/5.00

Core HR

3.89/5.00

Workforce management

3.52/5.00

Talent acquisition

3.00/5.00

Learning and development

3.03/5.00

Employee relations

3.19/5.00

Pros

  • Simple and easy-to-navigate interface.
  • Pre-built workflows to implement HR processes quickly.
  • Customizable homepage and profile dashboards.
  • Automated wellbeing surveys to track employee happiness over time.

Cons

  • Reports have limited customization settings.
  • No modules for employee training or scheduling.
  • No support for global payroll.
  • Adjusting settings in different modules can be clunky.

Why I chose BambooHR

BambooHR is my top choice for small businesses because it provides all your basic HR needs, including payroll, benefits administration, time tracking, record-keeping, and recruiting. Each module also provides a manageable amount of customization for companies where HR staff wear multiple hats and need processes they can implement quickly and efficiently.

With a total score of 3.48 out of 5, BambooHR stands out for its easy-to-use interface but could do better in its data analytics and talent acquisition features. As a small business looking to automate some of your day-to-day HR tasks, BambooHR is a good choice for first-time HR software users.

BambooHR is one of the most popular HR software solutions for its simple, effective UI and out-of-the-box workflows and reports. As a result, BambooHR is great for small businesses that need to centralize their people data and processes but don’t need the granular customization of HR platforms like Rippling or ​​SAP SuccessFactors.

To that end, BambooHR focuses on creating a platform accessible to tech-savvy and tech-averse HR teams. For example, BambooHR comes with pre-built reports and analytics visualizations that you can use for fundamental insights into your organization, like turnover and time-off usage. If you’re a system administrator, you can even customize BambooHR’s homepage with widgets to access this information as soon as you log in.

BambooHR does allow some customization. Its pre-configured onboarding and offboarding workflows, for example, let you add or remove tasks and stakeholders to accommodate priorities like manager training or IT device setup. Otherwise, BambooHR is ideal if you want to implement HR software quickly without a huge learning curve.

BambooHR limitations
  • Plug-and-play HR system: If you’re a larger company, you may find its pre-built workflows too limiting for your needs, even with custom data fields.
  • Minimal reporting and analytics options: You can’t combine data from various modules into one report and data visualizations are limited.

Digital record-keeping

BambooHR lets you upload, share, and store company and personnel documents directly within the platform. You can also create digital, legally recognized forms from the documents you use daily with eSignature to move away from paper processes and to an entirely digital filing system.

Creating these documents can be time-consuming, but it’s worth it. After you upload your PDF or .docx document to BambooHR, you can drag and drop the fields you want employees to complete into the appropriate areas. You can then send your electronic documents to the necessary employees for signatures and store the completed forms in their electronic personnel files.

BambooHR electronic fillable forms.
With BambooHR, I can upload documents and transform them into electronic fillable forms for more efficient and consistent record-keeping. Source: TechnologyAdvice
Employee self-service

Like most modern HRIS, BambooHR has employee self-service features like preboarding checklists, benefits enrollment, and paystub access. What sets BambooHR apart is that employees can also update their information, request time off, clock in and out of shifts, update professional goals, and track training assignments from the same place.

Plus, if you’re a small business with frontline workers, BambooHR allows employees to access all this information from their mobile device instead of a desktop computer. It even made it into my list of the best HR apps for mobile as a result.

BambooHR employee self-service task.
Whether accessing BambooHR from a desktop computer or a mobile device, employees can complete self-service tasks directly within their profiles; BambooHR’s homepage even has one-click buttons for requesting time off or clocking in and out from shifts. Source: TechnologyAdvice

In January 2024, BambooHR updated its subscription plans from Essentials and Advantage to Core and Pro. The Core plan includes basic HRIS functions, like employee recordkeeping and leave management. It also offers onboarding workflows and an applicant tracking system (ATS), two major additions that put Core on par with the starter plans of competitors like Rippling and Gusto.

That said, BambooHR retains its 2.81 score for pricing since it’s quite costly to start. For example, if you have fewer than 15 employees, you can purchase Gusto Plus and access everything in BambooHR Core plus payroll, benefits administration, and time-tracking modules. This makes BambooHR a better choice for well-established small businesses with limited long-term growth goals.

BambooHR subscription plans

Core*

Pro*

Price

  • 1–25 employees: $250 per month.
  • 25+ employees: $10 PEPM.
  • Volume discount applies after 25 employees.
  • 1–25 employees: $425 per month.
  • 25+ employees: $17 PEPM.
  • Volume discount applies after 25 employees.

Included modules

  • HRIS and reporting.
  • Hiring and onboarding.
  • Time off and benefits tracking.
  • Access to integrations marketplace.
  • HRIS and reporting.
  • Hiring and onboarding.
  • Time off and benefits tracking.
  • Access to integrations marketplace.
  • Performance management.
  • Employee experience.
  • Employee community.

BambooHR add-on modules

  • 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.

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.

Why is BambooHR so popular?

BambooHR is a versatile HR suite that covers a lot of ground in the world of HR. As a BambooHR aficionado, I frequently include it in my HR software shortlists:

Rippling logo.

Rippling: Best HR software for midsize companies

Overall score

3.95/5.00

User scores

4.76/5.00

Pricing

2.88/5.00

Platform/interface

4.34/5.00

Core HR

4.34/5.00

Workforce management

4.19/5.00

Talent acquisition

3.5/5.00

Learning and development

4.03/5.00

Employee relations

3.38/5.00

Pros

  • Employee profile localization for more than 150 countries.
  • Finance and IT management tools available.
  • HR support services, including a PEO and an EOR option for international payroll.
  • Ability to use Excel formulas in reports for more detailed insights.

Cons

  • There is no free trial, and it may be too expensive for basic HR needs.
  • Limited compliance features for benefits administration.
  • Reporting tools have a steep learning curve.
  • Customer service is limited to email and chat unless you purchase the HR Support Desk module.

Why I chose Rippling

With a total score of 3.95 out of 5, Rippling is one of the most adaptable HR programs I’ve demoed. It allows you to customize workflows and approval processes without needing advanced IT training. This feature alone makes Rippling stand out among its peers. It’s also handy for midsize businesses that need to automate most of their rote HR tasks to accommodate their growing headcount.

Although Rippling is weakest when it comes to employee communication and engagement, it integrates with apps like Homebase, Culture Amp, and Assembly to fill in the gaps. Plus, with the ability to send notifications via Slack, SMS, or email, Rippling can still help facilitate information sharing even as your business becomes more varied and complex.

Rippling is the best option if you’re a fast-growing SMB that has outgrown a simple HRIS and needs to unite HR, finance, and IT under one system. It rivals major HCM platforms despite its comparatively small product library.

Ripping allows you to start moving away from the day-to-day operations of HR and to more strategic ones. It offers customizable reports that aggregate and visualize any dataset plus tactical modules like headcount planning. This allows you to create a plan, manage approval workflows, and sync with recruiting and finance modules to help you visualize and control your people costs.

Rippling also offers PEO and EOR services to help you transition from simple to advanced HR needs on your teams. A rather unique feature is the ability to turn on and off its PEO services when needed — without complicated fees or contract negotiations. This makes it a great choice if you expect your HR support needs to change frequently.

Rippling limitations
  • Limited tools for frontline workers: It does not offer scheduling support or direct messaging between employees to facilitate shift work or communication with employees not tied to a desk.
  • Lack of strategic enterprise-grade tools: It doesn’t include benchmarking and predictive analytics for effective future workforce planning.

Workflow automation

Rippling is the only product on my shortlist with a workflow builder tool to create custom automations from scratch. This is unlike SAP SuccessFactors, which requires IT knowledge to develop cross-module workflows, or BambooHR, which comes with pre-defined workflows for onboarding, offboarding, and approvals.

Instead, with Rippling’s Workflow Studio, you can set a trigger in one module to set off an action in another using a simple if-then statement. For instance, you can automatically generate a report in Rippling’s reporting module and send it to appropriate stakeholders as soon as you finalize payroll. This reduces manual tasks while ensuring process consistency.

Rippling's Workflow Studio.
With Rippling’s Workflow Studio, I can use a data and time trigger to send a report to executives for review without having to run and email the report myself. Source: TechnologyAdvice
Compliance assistance

All products in Rippling’s HR Cloud come with its Compliance 360 feature, which monitors and notifies you of potential federal, state, or local law infractions. Although this doesn’t replace training your HR teams on employment laws and taking proactive steps to stay compliant, it is a great backstop as your team grows.

For example, if you’re a midsize business starting to hire employees in a new state, you might be unfamiliar with state labor laws like minimum wage or paid sick leave. Compliance 360 can notify you of these regulations during employee onboarding to ensure compliance. Or, if a law changes during the employee’s tenure with you, Rippling will alert you to the change.

Rippling Compliance 360.
Compliance 360 organizes your list of potential infractions by urgency, allowing you to address more serious issues, like pay violations, as soon as possible. Source: TechnologyAdvice
Global features

If you’re starting to hire employees in other countries, Rippling offers several global functions to simplify the experience. Besides EOR services, Rippling supports payroll processing in 50 countries from the same system, with currency conversions, taxes, and net pay calculated automatically.

One of my favorite features is the automatic localization of Rippling’s employee profiles. For instance, instead of your Canadian employee providing a Social Security number, they provide their Social Insurance Number. Little things like this can make a huge impact on your employees’ overall platform experience.

Rippling payroll process.
Rippling lets you complete payroll processes for your international workforce in one system, even if you have a mix of employees and contingent workers. Source: TechnologyAdvice

Rippling Unity, its base product, starts at $8 PEPM. However, you can expect that price to increase depending on what modules you add to Rippling Unity from its HR, IT, or finance products. Rippling also acknowledges that it might charge a monthly base fee; most third-party outlets list Rippling’s base fee at $35 per month.

Although Rippling provides its starting price, it only received a 2.88 out of 5 for pricing because it lacks a free trial and reserves critical HR software features, like payroll and benefits administration, in separate add-on modules. This makes it an expensive choice for your company’s first HR software. But it may be worth the investment if you’re scaling quickly and want to keep your HR processes in one place.

Rippling Unity subscription tiers

Pricing starters at $8 PEPM.

Core

Pro

Unlimited

Enterprise

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).

Includes everything 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.

Includes everything in Pro, plus:

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

Includes everything in Unlimited, plus:

  • Access to Rippling’s API.

Rippling add-on modules

HR Cloud

IT Cloud

Finance Cloud

Additional services

  • U.S. and global payroll.
  • Benefits administration.
  • Time and attendance.
  • Flex benefits (FSA, HSA, and commuter).
  • ACA and COBRA administration.
  • Recruiting.
  • Learning management.
  • Surveys (employee engagement).
  • Headcount planning.
  • Performance management.
  • App management.
  • Device management.
  • Inventory management.
  • Corporate cards.
  • Expense management.
  • Bill pay.
  • HR Help Desk (HR support).
  • PEO services.
  • ASO.
  • 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.

Looking to expand internationally?

Rippling’s global capabilities also made it one of our top picks for global payroll software and employer of record services. Learn how it stacks up against competitors in these areas:

Sap logo.

SAP SuccessFactors HXM: Best HR software for large enterprises

Overall score

4.15/5.00

User scores

3.90/5.00

Pricing

2.38/5.00

Platform/interface

3.94/5.00

Core HR

4.83/5.00

Workforce management

4.48/5.00

Talent acquisition

5.00/5.00

Learning and development

4.75/5.00

Employee relations

3.88/5.00

Pros

  • Global payroll in more than 45 countries.
  • Intelligent text-based employee sentiment analysis.
  • 24/7 customer support via online chat, phone, or email.
  • Guided action planning.
  • Native integration with SAP’s entire product line.
  • More than 2,000 standardized HR metrics.

Cons

  • It may be too expensive for small teams.
  • No free trial.
  • Complex user interface.
  • Relatively few plug-and-play integrations outside of SAP products and partners.

Why I chose SAP SuccessFactors HXM

With a score of 4.15 out of 5, SAP impressed me with its number of customizable features and extensibility options. In fact, by combining the HXM suite with other SAP products, like ERP, supply chain management, financial management, and customer relationship management, you can create an open flow of data across traditionally siloed business functions. This enables you to uncover process inefficiencies and areas of the business that are driving unneeded costs.

Understandably, SAP SuccessFactors’ advanced features and complicated interface can be off-putting if you’re new to HR software or want something with a more modern look. If that’s the case, check out Rippling or Workday instead. But, with its advanced workforce planning tools, candidate relationship management (CRM) system, and AI for personalized HR processes, SAP SuccessFactors HXM is an excellent choice for big-business needs.

SAP SuccessFactors Human Experience Management (HXM) is an enterprise-grade HR platform that centralizes HR administration in one place. SuccessFactors users can access SAP’s entire line of products, including enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, to create one unified ecosystem for all business functions.

If you’re a global company, SAP SuccessFactors also supports your international workforce. Although its native payroll only supports 45 countries, it can localize employee profiles to more than 100 countries, post job openings to over 4,000 global sourcing channels across 80 countries, and facilitate international benefits enrollment.

One thing to note about SAP SuccessFactors is that its vast feature set is primarily the result of its many acquisitions and partnerships. SuccessFactors itself was a company before SAP acquired it in 2012. This is not necessarily a bad thing though; as an enterprise, this means you often get access to innovative features ahead of other human capital management (HCM) solutions that build these functions natively.

SAP SuccessFactors limitations
  • Disjointed platform interface: Bolted-on feature sets from other vendors, like Qualtrics’ employee engagement modules, make navigating the product challenging.
  • Complicated automation setup: Although possible, setting up cross-system workflows is difficult because many modules are not natively built, unlike Rippling’s no-code automation feature, Workflow Studio.

Predictive analytics

SAP SuccessFactors uses data from its various modules to inform big-picture business decisions. Besides collecting on lagging indicators, like employee sentiment and retention, SAP SuccessFactors goes one step further by predicting data trends based on past performance.

For example, SAP SuccessFactors uses best-fit linear regression, a machine learning algorithm, to forecast trends so you can proactively address business changes. The chart below shows that SAP SuccessFactors predicts that the number of male-to-female recruits will equal in the next year. This suggests you should maintain current hiring procedures if your goal is to lower hiring inequity by gender.

SAP SuccessFactors graph.
SAP SuccessFactors uses a dotted line to forecast male and female external hires one year in advance; for more insight, you can extend your forecast up to five years. Source: SAP
AI capabilities

SAP SuccessFactors leverages AI natural language processing to assist with workforce planning and streamline administrative HR tasks. One of my favorite use cases has been its AI writing assistant, which helps managers craft constructive feedback. If you have managers with several direct reports, this can ensure they complete performance appraisals timely.

As of 2023, SAP SuccessFactors has added a generative AI chat tool called Joule. You can access Joule from anywhere on the platform by clicking the diamond symbol next to the search bar. Managers and direct reports can perform self-service using Joule, like requesting feedback and approving or denying paid time off requests.

Considering SAP’s somewhat difficult-to-navigate user interface (UI), Joule is a helpful tool for non-tech-savvy employees. Joule can provide quick answers without needing to become proficient with the software.

SAP SuccessFactors AI assistant.
By clicking the diamond icon in the top right of SAP SuccessFactors’ homepage, you can start a chat conversation with the generative AI assistant, Joule, to complete basic self-service tasks. Source: SAP
Succession planning

SuccessFactors HXM’s succession planning tools take a skills-based approach to developing employees and filling talent pipelines for critical roles.

Using an organizational chart, ​​SAP SuccessFactors can help you identify skills gaps that have a relatively high impact if they become vacant. The platform then uses data from employee profiles to surface high-potential, top-performing talent to start grooming for crucial roles. Besides preparing for future turnover, it keeps high performers invested in the company and their professional growth.

SAP SuccessFactors’ Succession Organization Chart
SAP SuccessFactors’s Succession Organization Chart is a great way to view your succession plan at a glance and pinpoint any gaps where you need to start developing your employees. Source: SAP

Like most enterprise HR software, ​​SAP does not disclose pricing for its full SuccessFactors HXM suite so you must contact its sales team for a quote. Overall cost is based on the size of your company and the features you need. This, plus its minimum one-year contract, resulted in a score of 2.38 for pricing.

However, SAP does reveal prices for several standalone products that comprise the HXM suite, which you can view in the chart below. Because of this, SuccessFactors narrowly beat Workday HCM as my choice for the best enterprise HR software mainly because of its pricing transparency and more global-friendly platform.

SAP SuccessFactors HXM products

Payroll

SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central Payroll

$99.24/user/yr.

Benefits administration

SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central

$75.60/user/yr.

Workforce management

SAP SuccessFactors Time Tracking

$30.84/user/yr.

​​SAP SuccessFactors Onboarding

$91/transaction/yr.

SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting

$180/transaction/yr.

SAP Candidate Experience by Qualtrics

$25.32/user/yr.

SAP Employee Lifecycle by Qualtrics

$20.28/user/yr.

SAP SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics

Undisclosed

SAP Analytics Cloud

$384/user/yr.

Performance management and engagement

SAP SuccessFactors Performance and Goals

$44.64/user/yr.

SAP SuccessFactors Learning

$22.20/user/yr.

SAP SuccessFactors Compensation

$23.40/user/yr.

SAP SuccessFactors Succession & Development

$22.92/user/yr.

SAP SuccessFactors Opportunity Marketplace

$22.32/user/yr.

SAP Employee Technology Experience by Qualtrics

$40.68/user/yr.

SAP Employee Engagement Bundle by Qualtrics

Undisclosed

Employee document management and self-service

SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central Service Center

$45.48/user/yr.

SAP SuccessFactors Signature Management by DocuSign

Undisclosed

SAP SuccessFactors Work Zone

$70.44/user/yr.

SAP SuccessFactors Document Management by OpenText

Undisclosed

Note: SAP SuccessFactors also offers several sales-specific modules, which I did not outline in the chart above. For more information, check out SAP SuccessFactors HXM’s Sales Performance Management.

AI in HR software

SAP SuccessFactors is hardly the only HR software that offers AI tools. Recruitment platforms, for example, have used AI for years to sort and identify highly qualified candidates from applicant pools. However, with the rise of generative AI, many vendors are announcing plans to integrate more AI capabilities into their products.

For example, Paycor’s new Skills module leverages AI to promote upskilling by suggesting training opportunities to employees based on their skills and career interests. Workday offers similar AI functions, especially for workplace analytics and planning.

You can learn more by exploring AI in HR: 6 Ways Artificial Intelligence Impacts the Workplace and The Best Enterprise HR Software & Solutions.

Honorable mentions

HR software is a broad and segmented product category. Below are some runners-up that performed well in specific categories and may better suit your business’s needs.

Deel: Best HR software for global companies

Alternative for: Rippling and Gusto

When to choose Deel: Deel offers both PEO and EOR services, with international hiring and payroll available in more than 150 countries. This is significantly more than either Rippling or Gusto, allowing you to hire the best talent no matter their location. Its HRIS, Deel HR, is also free to use for any size organization.

Of particular interest to companies with a global customer base is Deel’s immigration services, which no other platform in my roundup offers. The service helps you relocate your employees abroad, including handling the visa process, so you can avoid paying for an immigration lawyer.

Why it didn’t make the list: Deel’s platform is not quite as sophisticated as others in my shortlist. For example, it requires manual data entry or integration with third-party applications to manage operations like time tracking and recruiting. It also handles a majority of its employee engagement functions, like company announcements, pulse surveys, and feedback, via plugins that require a Slack subscription.

The Deel logo.

Our Rating: 3.40/5

Workday HCM: Best HR software for workforce planning

Alternative for: SAP SuccessFactors HXM

When to choose Workday HCM: Workday Human Capital Management (HCM) rivals most enterprise-grade HR solutions with its modern and user-friendly interface. In particular, Workday’s expansion into ERP through finance and operations modules means it easily combines data from all these business sectors for more informed decision-making. Beyond headcount and cost, Workday offers model and scenario planning to forecast your company’s labor trends and help plan future business moves like expansion, acquisition, and partnership.

Why it didn’t make the list: While Workday may be a more approachable platform for your individual contributors and executive teams alike, it is very expensive. This is because Workday takes longer to build each module internally rather than acquire features through mergers or acquisitions with other vendors.

Workday also does not have nearly the support for international teams compared to Rippling or SAP, forcing you to integrate with third-party solutions. Its native payroll functions, for example, are only available for the U.S., UK, Canada, and France.

The Workday logo.

Our Rating: 4.13/5

Learn more about Workday and its competitors:

Paylocity: Best HR software for growing businesses

Alternative for: ADP Workforce Now

When to choose Paylocity: Paylocity is a feature-rich platform with modules supporting day-to-day operational and strategic HR needs. Growing businesses with a diverse workforce will appreciate its strong recruitment features, like compensation market insights and job application QR codes, to stand out in a competitive job market and make it easier for candidates to apply. You can also choose your HR modules to limit costs and build up more advanced functionality as your needs evolve.

Why it didn’t make the list: Paylocity’s interface is not very intuitive, often taking multiple clicks to find the data you need. For example, Paylocity houses your personnel records in various locations, including separate payroll and HR files. This creates a frustrating experience since viewing employee file elements requires you to bounce between its Self-Service Portal and Payroll and HR modules.

Paylocity logo.

Our Rating: 3.74/5

Find your new HR software

How do you choose the best HR software?

“When selecting HR software, consider your business size, budget, day-to-day HR processes, and company goals. It’s crucial to have software that can manage compliance obligations, such as payroll and benefits administration. This software often comes with pre-built safeguards that limit labor law violations and prevent data entry errors, making it a must-have for your business.

That doesn’t mean HR processes like recruitment, retention, and employee performance and development are less important. Your organization should still have procedures to support these key areas. As your business grows, you’ll likely add HR software to cover these functions to improve process efficiency and access data insights that aid in effective workforce planning.”

Expert tip from Lead HR Writer Jessica Dennis

Also read: How to Choose the Right HR Software for your Business

What are the types of HR software?

There are three main categories of HR software: HRIS, HRMS, and HCM. Although they are often used interchangeably, there are several technical differences between them. Some HR software also focuses on specific human resources functions, like recruiting, onboarding, payroll, benefits administration, performance management, employee engagement, and learning management.

Also read: 14 Must-Have HR System Features

Core HR software

Human resources information systems (HRIS) offer a variety of capabilities for HR data management. The goal of these multi-function systems is to maintain individual employee data and handle the company’s regulatory and legal employment requirements.

An HRIS stores key details about an organization’s workforce, including employees’ personal information, employment details, performance metrics, and compensation history. HRIS platforms can also act as a repository for important HR documents like employment contracts, tax forms, and policy guides.

An HRIS can be a standalone product that integrates with other HR applications, or it can serve as a central database in an all-in-one HR software suite. At its core, an HRIS application focuses on optimizing processes associated with HR record-keeping and reporting.

You can further divide HRIS into five types: operational, strategic, tactical, limited-function, and comprehensive HRIS. To learn more, check out Types of Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS).

Human resources management systems (HRMS) focus on process optimization and cost efficiency. This type of software improves how an organization handles its HR processes by automating tasks and centralizing access to critical information.

Many HRMS products extend the functionality of a traditional HRIS by including tools for payroll, benefits administration, recruiting, and performance management. Some HRMS also offer tools for more robust reporting and forecasting purposes, like succession planning and position control.

Human capital management (HCM) software is often regarded as the largest umbrella in the HR software category. Most HCM solutions combine all of the functionalities of HRIS and HRMS platforms, plus additional features for employee engagement, learning management, and business intelligence. HCM software also offers advanced data analysis capabilities for business intelligence and HR process optimization.

HCM software cultivates human capital by streamlining all HR functions and creating a holistic view of the employee lifecycle. This breadth allows companies to maximize the potential of their employees and their contributions to organizational performance. To that end, HCM software adds tactical and strategic HR features to keep employees engaged and motivated to work toward the company’s business goals.

Function-specific HR software

Recruiting software, specifically applicant tracking systems (ATS), help hiring teams optimize the hiring process. It manages the entire recruitment process from beginning to end, from sourcing and screening candidates to extending job offers and onboarding new employees.

ATS platforms manage information related to different candidates, allowing hiring managers to compare candidates against each other and choose the best one for the job. Many recruiting software suites include applicant tracking features in addition to candidate relationship management and workforce planning capabilities.

Onboarding software facilitates the process of introducing new hires to a company. It typically includes capabilities such as electronic signatures, pre-boarding checklists, and employee questionnaires.

Effective onboarding platforms also include tools to help onboard onsite and remote employees, such as mobile and desktop support and customizable task assignments by role. That way, all necessary stakeholders timely complete their responsibilities to ensure a smooth employee onboarding experience.

Payroll software lets organizations track expenses, taxes, payouts, and schedules accurately. It also helps HR teams maintain compliance with labor and payroll regulations and analyze payroll data for discrepancies or inefficiencies. Organizations use payroll software to calculate, process, and record employee pay on time.

Payroll software can also come in different sizes and shapes depending on worker classification, company industry, and where employees live and work. For example, you may choose a contractor payroll solution if you only employ contractors. If you employ workers internationally, you’ll want to research global payroll systems to handle competing pay laws by country.

Performance management software enables organizations to assess employee skills, track goals, and monitor performance over time. Companies often use performance management software to coach employees and evaluate performance during formal reviews or through weekly pulse updates. It gives managers a clear view of employees’ growth and development in their roles.

Employee engagement software helps companies understand employee sentiment over time and identify areas where the employee experience can improve. These systems offer survey tools, follow-up workflows, gamification, and analytics to understand how employees feel about their work. Employee feedback data is then consolidated and analyzed to produce actionable insights that can improve retention.

Learning management systems (LMS), or eLearning systems, help HR teams design, organize, and deliver employee training programs. These systems can evaluate employee skills, track active certifications, and identify opportunities for professional development.

By incorporating this tool, HR can onboard new employees and keep tenured employees up to date with current industry knowledge standards. Moreover, LMS can optimize job and compliance training and learning and development.

What are the benefits of HR software?

HR software solutions offer businesses a number of advantages, including increased efficiency, consistent compliance, and deeper reporting capabilities.

Efficiency

Many HR software solutions include automation capabilities that drive the efficiency of different HR processes. When HR staff can spend less time on repetitive, manual tasks, they are able to focus on more valuable priorities. Additionally, HR software provides employees with direct access to the services employees need most so they can complete tasks like direct deposit updates or benefits enrollment independently.

Compliance

Compliance with HR-related laws and regulations is usually non-negotiable because of the costly penalties associated with violations. HR software helps organizations stay in compliance with current local, state, federal, and international laws, as well as industry-specific regulations. Typically, this manifests as built-in time and pay compliance warnings, legally mandated paperwork tracking, news on laws affecting your workforce, and access to HR best practices documents.

Reporting

Robust HR software reporting features help organizations make informed decisions with accurate data. Many HR platforms offer report generation templates to help users find the information they need quickly, and others offer advanced AI tools to support deeper data insights like predictive analytics and natural language processing.

How much does HR software cost?

Human resources software costs depend on multiple factors, including HR feature needs, deployment requirements, and employee headcount. The type of HR software is also a key factor, with all-in-one software typically more expensive than standalone options.

Most cloud-based HR software vendors use a per employee per month (PEPM) pricing model. For more information on HR software costs, explore the resources below:

How to get HR software buy-in from key executives

Of course, you already know the benefits of HR software: how it streamlines administrative tasks, simplifies the hiring process, and creates one central location for all your workforce data. But to get approval for such a significant investment, you’ll need to connect the dots for other decision-makers.

As such, a well-rounded proposal will cover how individual departments will benefit from new HR tech, whether by reducing costs, avoiding risks, or propelling strategic, long-term goals.

For new HR software, your CIO is concerned with integration complexities and loss of control over data and systems. They want to choose an agile system that will scale with the company’s growth projections and minimize the need for additional infrastructure. They will also want to know about potential hardware requirements, security controls, and implementation options.

When proposing your technology investment to a CFO, put the software’s cost-benefit analysis front and center. Establish a realistic budget before evaluating individual software options, then craft your proposal with facts and figures that show how HR initiatives maintain profit margins (or reduce costs), combat healthcare prices, and improve employee morale and productivity.

CEOs make high-level decisions about policy and strategy, so their buy-in is arguably the most important. To speak to your CEO’s top concerns, focus on how HR software will help your organization sustain a competitive workforce. Tools that support rich analytics, recruitment, performance management, and employee development are essential to hire, engage, and retain the top talent.