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ADP Workforce Now vs. Namely — Which is your next all-in-one HR software?

BY -

Chris Hatler

July 26, 2021

Is your HR team trying to choose between ADP Workforce Now and Namely for an all-in-one HR software? It’s understandably a tough decision. Both vendors are well respected in HR tech, but for different reasons. 

ADP is a long-time frontrunner in HR software. The company was founded as a manual payroll processing company in 1949. Through the decades, it grew in size and influence, culminating in the software product ADP Workforce Now, released in 2011. 

Namely, on the other hand, was founded in 2012, one year after Workforce Now hit digital shelves. Since then, Namely has rapidly grown into a popular platform for human resources teams across the US. 

The two companies have had different trajectories, but one’s growth is not necessarily better than the other’s. Just because ADP has been around longer does not mean it’s a better solution than Namely. All that matters is which is best for your business.

Therefore, we put together this detailed guide of ADP Workforce Now vs. Namely, to help you choose the right solution for you based on features, pricing, customer service, and more.

Features

Feature ADP Workforce Now Namely
Payroll administration
Time tracking and attendance
Expense management
Salary tools
Benefits administration
Mobile app
Compliance modules
Talent management
Reporting and analytics
Tax filings
Benchmarking
Org chartX
Social newsfeedX

ADP Workforce Now and Namely have all the features you’d expect for a full HR suite. The most important of these are payroll, benefits, workforce, talent management, and detailed reporting ¬ analytics. Each provides an employee self-service portal, as well as access through iOS and Android apps.

Namely does have an edge with a built-in org chart and social newsfeed to keep employees updated. With ADP, you would have to integrate with an outside solution to have an org chart or social media-type employee engagement tool.

Pricing

ADP Workforce Now Pricing

ADP Workforce Now has four pricing plans to choose from:

  • Payroll Essentials: Features only workforce management, tax, and payroll systems.
  • HR Plus: Adds digital record keeping, analytics, onboarding, and HR tools. 
  • Hiring Advantage: Adds talent acquisition tools. Most popular plan.
  • Performance Plus: Adds performance management and compensation management. 

However, ADP does not release specific cost information. You must contact a sales representative for further details.

Namely Pricing

Namely has three pricing plans:

  • HR Fundamentals: Includes all the basics, such as company news feed, directory and org chart, reporting and analytics, performance and goals, onboarding, and time off management.
  • HR Complete: Adds payroll, benefits, compliance, time & attendance, and recruiting.
  • Enhanced Services: Adds enhanced payroll and benefits services from expert advisors.

The pricing for these plans is not disclosed online. You must contact a sales representative for a custom quote.

ADP Workforce NowNamely
Extensive app marketplace, including connections with:
  • iCIMS
  • Quickbooks
  • Kazoo
  • VidCruiter
  • Hibob
  • Lattice

ADP does not integrate with Zapier, but does have APIs.
Solid partner ecosystem, including connections with:
  • Greenhouse
  • Jobvite
  • Lever
  • Bonusly
  • Culture Amp
  • TripActions

Namely also integrates with Zapier for easy integration with other apps. The solution also has APIs.

Both ADP Workforce Now and Namely have many integration partners, which makes it easy to streamline your tech stack. ADP in particular is known for its huge marketplace of apps to connect with. 

In addition, both solutions offer APIs for home-built integrations. However, ADP does not integrate with Zapier at the moment, making it more difficult to connect with apps not on their marketplace.

Customer Support and Success

ADP Workforce NowNamely
  • 24/7 phone and email support
  • Employee and company administrator online support portals
  • FAQ page
  • Best practice guides
  • Consulting and PEO services
  • Client Care online portal
  • Help community
  • FAQs
  • Learning materials and webinars
  • Access to experts and consultants
  • Online support cases

ADP Workforce Now and Namely match up pretty evenly in customer support. Any employee or administrator seeking help will find the online portals, user communities, FAQs, and educational tools useful. ADP does provide an automated phone and email support service, which is a nice bonus that Namely doesn’t offer.

Major Customers

ADP Workforce NowNamely
  • Jelly Belly
  • Margaritaville
  • The Boston Globe
  • Shipyard Brewing
  • ADT
  • Hyatt
  • Greenhouse
  • Life is Good
  • VitaCoco
  • Onelogin
  • The James Irvine Foundation
  • MacStadium

It’s not a secret that ADP Workforce Now is widely used. Just based on this customer list alone, you see newspaper, hotel, retail, and restaurant businesses of all different sizes. 

Namely boasts mostly mid-sized customers in a wide variety of industries. One of their customers, Greenhouse, is widely considered to be the best-in-class applicant tracking system for mid-sized businesses. So, the fact that they rely on Namely for their HR needs is good to know.

User Experience

ADP Workforce Now Screenshot

ADP Workforce Now Screenshot

Namely Screenshot

Namely Screenshot

Both solutions have pretty clean user interfaces, though Namely’s is cleaner and more intuitive. To learn more about what actual HR teams think of the software competitors, we read a few user reviews from different HR technology communities. Here are some valuable answers:

u/theHRgeek on Reddit:

I would recommend not going with Namely. We left them at the end of last year. Their customer service is so awful (general support email, no assigned account managers), they overpromise on everything, they don't know what they're doing when it comes to payroll, and we experienced so many issues. We were a client since 2015, and even though I wasn't involved in the implementation, I heard really bad things from the very beginning. Sure, Namely is easy when it comes to the employee-facing side, but everything else it generally lacks. There [are] too many steps or clicks to do something. 

u/eitherorsayyes on Reddit

In general, [Namely] works when it works. When it doesn't, it's super, super, super time consuming to get it running well. We had to fix someone's W2 last year because someone put into the HRIS the wrong state for one payroll. We only found out after the fact, when someone moved. This was caught later after the state penalized us. We had Managed Services not notify us of a UI tax they could not file and have had a state ding us on this for the fallout x 4 different states.

If your team goes with Namely, you have to be willing to say, "No, I do not accept that. It is unacceptable." You have to find their org chart and escalate. You have to do lots of work to get it running smoothly, and even then somehow they manage to break Namely with their updates. You go through about 2-3 CSMs a year.

u/tmrika on Reddit:

Started a new role last November, and we use ADP for virtually everything - payroll, HRIS, ATS, leave management, performance reviews.

It seems like every week there's a slew of new issues. I've been spending my entire morning trying to figure out why one of our employees hasn't been accruing PTO correctly. I'm generating reports, looking over his files, making sure that all the fields associated with his personal and employment profiles are accurate and have been accurate historically. After all this work, I've managed to identify at least 2 issues factoring into why his balance is incorrect, but there's no explanation as to why those issues occurred in the first place. Our HR Director doesn't know, our payroll specialist doesn't know. All I know is that if the software was a little more straightforward, I don't think we'd be having these issues at all.

u/hrgooglefu on Reddit:

We use ADP Workforce Now, but I wasn't around for the implementation originally (payroll and benefits modules, along with the time off module). I have implemented the ATS and ACA portions, and am working on this year's open enrollment setup. I've also had quite a few custom reports written, along with some payroll memos added over time. I've found ADP to be pretty responsive on those.

We are right at 100 employees most of the time.

I am not sure that ADP would be a good system for a very large company though. Sometimes an in-house product, or something that can be easily modified, is better in that case.

u/OutSailBrett on Reddit

When it comes to HR software, there is an entire forgotten class of companies in the mid-enterprise space. These companies between 350 and 1500 employees are too big and complex for some of the fledgling solutions on the market, but not quite ready to invest in a big, global behemoth.

Namely can help these companies through the next stage in their lifecycle, as they transition from start-up to growing leaders. Namely provides all things HCM (payroll, HRIS, benefits, performance, time, and more) in a sleek, modern interface.

HR professionals have strong opinions on the software they use everyday. These opinions are reflected in online communities, where users vent their frustrations. 

It’s important to take these frustrations into consideration, but not let them sway your decisions. If you have done your due diligence, you landed on ADP and Namely for a reason. If you need to think harder about how these systems will affect your bottom line, use our HR Tech ROI Calculators to figure out which, if either, of these solutions is right for you.

Bottom Line?

ADP and Namely are both well known names in the space, with strong feature sets and plenty of integration partners. So how can you possibly choose between the two?

We recommend going through goal setting exercises. Ask yourself, what do you plan to accomplish with your new HR management system? What features are most important, even outside of the big use cases like payroll services, compliance management, or benefits administration? 

If you typically rely on other solutions for features such as email templates, detailed HR analytics, automation tools, or onboarding functionality for new employees, a human resource management software like ADP or Namely could streamline your tech stack. 

Demo each product, ask good questions, and don't be afraid to haggle for the best possible price. In fact, we even put together a guide on how to get the best price in HR tech. Regardless of which solution you pick, you can rest assured knowing you did the research to find the best product for your business.

Learn more about ADP Workforce Now here. 

Learn more about Namely here.

ADP and Namely alternatives:

For companies of any size: BambooHR

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