Best HR Software

Manage and Streamline HR Processes

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Human resources (HR) software helps you manage and streamline various HR functions and processes. Once implemented, using the software can make your job easier and save you time and money.

The best HR software is feature-rich, offers a good value for the price, and provides top-notch customer support. We carefully examined a variety of software options before choosing our top picks. Read on to see which HR software may make the most sense for your company.

The Best HR Software for 2021

Best Overall : ADP®


ADP TotalSource

 ADP TotalSource

Why We Chose It: ADP took our top spot because the well-known company offers a robust, customizable HR software solution and provides top-notch HR support.

What We Like
  • One-stop-shop HR software solution

  • Well-known and respected provider

  • Additional HR support available

What We Don’t Like
  • Pricing information not available online

We like ADP since the firm can tailor its HR software to businesses of any size in any industry.

Although the company is best known for payroll, the software can do so much more. If your organization opts for the entire software package, you’ll receive:

  • Full-service payroll, which includes easy, four-step processing, tax calculation and payment, tax form distribution, employee self-service, and expert, 24/7 support
  • Time tracking and paid time off management tools
  • Recruiting and hiring tools to include a branded company career site, job posting capabilities, an applicant tracking system, and an electronic onboarding process
  • Pre-hire screening assistance, which includes employment and education verification, drug testing, and background checking
  • Benefits administration tools to help employees select and enroll in the benefits that they need 
  • Compensation tools to help you evaluate your current compensation structure, create new pay programs, and close any pay gaps
  • The ability to track employee skills and deliver training as well as create succession plans
  • Countless HR-related reports so you can make the best possible decisions based on the data

The firm offers several different service packages based on your company size, so you can choose the one that meets your company’s unique needs. You can access the software via the web or mobile app.

ADP also offers HR support, ranging from access to knowledge banks and templates to consultations with experts to complete outsourcing of the HR function.

The company does not include pricing on its website, so you’ll have to call for a custom quote or a demo. Sometimes, the firm will offer three months of free payroll processing if your company meets guidelines, such as having 1-99 employees, signing an agreement and processing the first payroll with ADP by a certain date, and continuing to process payroll on the same plan for three consecutive months.

Best for Payroll Management : Gusto


Gusto

 Gusto

Why We Chose It: Gusto offers easy-to-use software, and the company is transparent with its pricing.

What We Like
  • Simple payroll processing

  • Transparent pricing

  • Additional services and support available

What We Don’t Like
  • Significant price difference among plans

We like Gusto because the nationwide, full-service payroll provider simplifies payroll processing for a fair price. The software lets users process payroll with a few clicks and gives employees easy access to their pay stubs, tax forms, and other HR-related information.

Gusto’s payroll service includes:

  • A user-friendly interface that helps you submit payroll in minutes
  • Automated payroll so you can set it and forget it if you don’t have changes from pay period to pay period
  • The ability to have multiple pay rates and pay workers in multiple states
  • Direct deposit as soon as the next day after payroll processing
  • Payroll taxes calculated and paid
  • Tax forms created and issued
  • Employee self-service
  • Expert support from certified payroll professionals

Gusto has started to branch out by providing additional HR-related services, including benefits like vacation time and retirement accounts. To reflect this, the company offers three different service plans to meet a wide variety of needs. Each subsequent plan builds on the last and includes all of the features from the previous plans.

Core Complete Concierge
$39 per month + $6 per employee per month $39 per month + $12 per employee per month $149 per month + $12 per employee per month
Payroll processing

Payroll tax payment

Employee self-service

Worker’s compensation administration

2-day direct deposit

Employee onboarding

Health insurance administration

Integrations with accounting and timekeeping software

Employee document management
All features from Core plus:

Next-day direct deposit

Paid time off administration

Custom employee onboarding
Time tracking
All features from Core and Complete, plus:

Dedicated support

Access to HR resources and certified HR professionals

All plans also offer employee access to the Gusto Wallet, which is a mobile app that helps employees track and save money. Workers can also get an interest-free cash advance that will automatically be repaid with funds from their next paycheck.

If your company only hires contractors, Gusto can still process payments for them. That service costs $6 per contractor per month, which covers unlimited pays and year-end tax forms.

You can see a side-by-side comparison of Gusto’s service plans as well as detailed feature information on the company’s website.

Best for Recruitment : ClearCompany


ClearCompany

ClearCompany

Why We Chose It: ClearCompany is our choice for best for recruitment because the software was designed specifically for talent acquisition.

What We Like
  • Primary focus on recruiting and talent management

  • Modern approach to sorting through candidates

  • Customizable software solution

What We Don’t Like
  • Pricing information not available online

ClearCompany focuses mainly on recruiting, and the easy-to-use platform helps you sort through and select candidates based on skills and qualities your current top performers possess, increasing your odds of a successful hire.

Like many HR software options, ClearCompany’s offering can be purchased as a complete solution or as separate modules. If you opt for the whole package, you’ll get assistance with:

  • Applicant tracking, which includes mobile applications, candidate texting, interview scheduling, guides, and feedback, and job offer management
  • Paperless onboarding which includes background checks, required paperwork, device management, introductions to other employees, and more
  • Performance management, which includes manager feedback, peer and 360 reviews, goal tracking, custom review cycles, and a tailored experience for each employee
  • Employee engagement, which includes real-time feedback, peer recognition, engagement surveys, and more
  • Workforce planning and analytics, which includes tools to analyze the current labor pool and forecast future needs

If you don’t need everything listed above, you can buy the applicant tracking, paperless onboarding, and performance management pieces a la carte. 

ClearCompany doesn’t list their pricing online, so you’ll need to contact the organization for a quote. You can also schedule a demo on the firm’s website.

Best for Benefits : Benefitplace™ From Benefitfocus®


Benefitfocus®

 Benefitfocus®

Why We Chose It: Benefitplace won this category because the software focuses solely on benefits.

What We Like
  • Sole focus is on benefits

  • Helps HR practitioners and employees alike

  • Software is feature-rich

What We Don’t Like
  • No pricing information listed on the company website

We like Benefitplace since it’s a robust platform designed to make benefits administration easier for both HR practitioners and employees alike.

The software is feature-rich and includes:

  • Support for 100+ different benefits which can be configured based on your company’s eligibility requirements
  • The ability to add new benefits at any time
  • The ability to send benefits-related communication to employees across different channels via provided templates
  • Tailored made videos about your benefits that you can share with employees
  • Open enrollment assistance which helps your employees learn about their benefits, compare plans, and select the right ones for their needs
  • A team of benefits experts your employees can contact with questions, which frees up your time
  • COBRA, FSA, HSA, and HRA administration
  • Invoice management for your benefits provider invoices
  • Reporting that provides valuable insight like open enrollment participation, Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliance, and more
  • Assistance to comply with legislation such as the ACA
  • Integration with other major HR software, such as ADP or SAP
  • Digital connection to your benefits providers to eliminate manual data entry

The software provider has also released a mobile app where employees can view their benefits, get their ID cards, and make changes to their benefits elections.

Benefitplace doesn’t list prices on its website, so you’ll need to call and book a demo to learn more.

Best Free or Low-Cost Option : Freshteam from Freshworks


Freshteam

 Freshteam

Why We Chose It: We like Freshteam’s software since you can get started for free and change your plan anytime you need.

What We Like
  • Free plan is available

  • 21-day free trial offered; credit card not required

  • No contract required; cancel or change plans anytime

What We Don’t Like
  • Service plans are complicated

Focusing primarily on recruiting and onboarding, Freshteam offers a free version called the Sprout plan, is available for companies with up to 50 employees, and includes:

  • A standard career site for your organization
  • Three published job advertisements at a time
  • The ability for candidates to apply via email
  • An email inbox for your recruiting team
  • Kanban boards (similar to Trello) to track applicant activity 
  • An organizational chart and employee directory
  • Basic paid time off management
  • Access to a mobile app so you can work on the go

You can use the free plan indefinitely, but note that it doesn’t offer any support. If you want to have assistance available or need additional features, you can choose from three paid plans. The plans build on each other, so you’ll get the perks of any less expensive plans.

Blossom Garden Estate
$75 per month for every 50 users $150 per month for every 50 users $250 per month for every 50 users
Custom career site

Ten job advertisements at a time

Job board integration Interview scorecards

Custom hiring pipelines

Recruiting automation

Interview scheduling via Google or Outlook calendars

Housing for unlimited employee documents

Time off approval workflow

24/7 phone, email, or online chat support
Advanced career site customization

Unlimited job advertisements

Sponsored Indeed job listings

Social media recruiting

Candidate archiving

Job offer management

New hire onboarding

Onboarding and offboarding checklists

Integration with e-sign software
Dedicated account manager

Custom user roles

Custom URL and SSL certificate

You can find additional feature details on the company’s website.

If you pay for a whole year upfront, you can save up to 33%. Freshteam also lets you try before you buy by offering a 21-day free trial—no credit card required. Prices don’t include applicable taxes.

Final Verdict

There are many HR software options available, so it may be difficult to determine which solution meets your organization’s needs. Before you sign up to use any HR software, be sure to research it thoroughly, ask for a demo, and read third-party reviews.

However, ADP is a great place to start. The software is customizable to fit any business’s HR needs. Plus, the company offers advanced support options, including the ability to outsource your firm’s entire HR function fully.

Compare Providers

Software Monthly Price Unique Feature
ADP®
Best Overall
Call for quote HR outsourcing offered
Gusto
Best for Payroll Management
Base: $39-$149 per employee: $6 or $12 Simple payroll processing
ClearCompany
Best for Recruitment
Call for quote Candidate screening based on top-performer traits
Benefitplace™ from Benefitfocus®
Best for Benefits
Call for quote End-to-end benefits administration solution
Freshteam from Freshworks
Best Free or Low-Cost Option
$0-$250 per 50 users 24/7 support available

FAQs

What Is HR Software?

HR software is used to manage HR-related processes and make HR departments more efficient. Using the software allows HR professionals to shift their focus from administrative tasks to strategic planning, making them greater assets to their company.

What Does HR Software Do?

HR software helps HR practitioners streamline their day-to-day tasks and make better, data-driven decisions. Each piece of software has different capabilities but, generally, HR software does the following:

  • Collects, stores, organizes, retrieves, and analyzes various pieces of HR-related data
  • Automates certain tasks like onboarding employees or paying payroll taxes
  • Provides reports to facilitate decision making
  • Grants employees access to their data so they can make changes to it 

HR software can also help an HR department save time and money because automation reduces staff workload.

What Are the Different Types of HR Software Systems?

Some HR software focuses on specific HR functions, such as recruiting, benefits administration, or payroll. Other software offers a one-stop-shop that covers all (or most) HR-related disciplines. There are also customizable options that let you piece together a software solution with the HR modules that your firm needs.  

What Are the Benefits of Using an HR Software?

There are several benefits to using HR software, including, but not limited to:

  • Time savings because automation reduces the administrative workload
  • Cost savings due to more HR-related tasks being paperless
  • Enhanced decision making due to data analytics
  • Increased employee satisfaction since workers can access and update their information through employee self-service 
  • Improved security since sensitive HR-related documents are often housed on encrypted servers rather than in filing cabinets

To get the most benefit, you should establish your firm’s goals for the software so you can select the right one for your needs and learn how to utilize it fully.

Methodology

We carefully examined 10 HR software options before making our top choices and considered each software’s capabilities, customer support, and price. We also factored in any special features such as benefits management, mobile app, or free trials.

All of our top picks are robust, cost-effective HR software solutions designed to help HR practitioners become more efficient.