Best Free HR Software – March 2021

The best free human resources software, benefits, pitfalls, features, and more.

Author Phil Strazzulla, HR Tech Expert, Harvard MBA, Finance and Software Nerd
Phil Strazzulla,HR Tech Expert, Harvard MBA, Finance and Software Nerd - Oct 19, 2021

Choosing the right HR software is a decision that will have an impact on virtually every member of your organization, even on potential ones. Whether it’s for onboarding, payroll management, benefits management, or time-off requests, your next Human Resources software will become an integral part of your company’s day to day operation. 

But what if you’re on a budget and can’t flesh out a high fee for every user just yet? Thinking of companies in this scenario, we decided to put together a list of 11 HR software solutions that have a completely operational free version. These are mostly not free trials, but free software options that you can use for unlimited time and for a wide variety of HR purposes. They’re also tools that we would use ourselves and have a strong reputation with HR managers in several industries.

We spend hundreds of hours researching the best HR and recruiting software so you don’t have to.  We never take money from vendors during our research phase and rely heavily on practitioners and experts to help us recommend the right software.  However we may earn a fee if you click on vendor links on this page.

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A Quick Breakdown: Top Free HR Software

With an HRMS plan that's free for up to 50 employees, Freshteam offers quite a few features for HR and recruitment.
Homebase was built to manage hourly workers and keep track of their work. They're also used for hiring, onboarding, HR & compliance, health & safety checks, and labor cost controls.
Although it is not entirely free, UZIO is worth a mention here for their wide array of features and varied plans with real competitive prices.
Zoho People offers a 360-degree solution for HR teams. It's fit and scalable for many company sizes but they do have a free forever plan for very small teams.
As one of the most well-known and trusted names in human resources tech, BambooHR is worthy of consideration for their many perks and flexible pricing.
Bitrix24 is a hugely popular vendor with a massive array of tools for businesses and organizations. Some of their HR products are free, and for the same plan you can get several other business apps too.
Oddo offers a massive variety of HR & business solutions that can cover many needs for a company. Plus, they do it in several languages.
HRnest are well-known for having excellent support and being open to customer feedback, customizing their product offering to fit the particular needs of their clients.
OrangeHRM takes the time to understand your business and tend to be flexible enough to find an iteration of their solution that fits you. Their tools are used by thousands of users worldwide.
SnapHRM offers a full HR suite that is free or pretty cost-effective depending on your user count. It's cloud software, but they also offer a self-hosted option.
We love Sentrifugo because it is a fully-fledged open-source HRMS that's completely free, making it a good choice for small and medium sized businesses.
WebHR is completely free for teams with 5 employees or less. A perk of this product is that if you decide to upgrade, you can do it on a per-module basis instead of having to buy a whole suite.
IceHRM is notable for offering both an open source version and cloud version of their software. The open source style is present in other ways within their practices, such as having numerous resources for customers.

We put in the effort to make this guide awesome

20
Hours Researched
12
Experts Consulted
18
Vendors Reviewed

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Top Free HR Systems

We track thousands of HR Tech solutions, here are the best free HR software platforms as of March 2021.

Freshteam

Review

This product from Freshworks, a business software developer from California, is an all-encompassing HR management solution specifically targeted for growing businesses. Freshteam can handle your human resources experience from job postings and applicant tracking all the way to features like an employee directory and time off management. As mentioned, their Sprout version is completely free for up to 50 employees.

Freshteam

Stats

  • Used by over 3,000 businesses

Freshteam

Pricing:

After the completely free plan, which has a user limit of 50, Freshteam starts at $1.20 per user, plus a $71 platform fee, all billed monthly. This includes more features, such as unlimited employee documents, job board integrations, time-off policies, and more.

Best For

Fast-growing businesses

Worth Checking Out:

Homebase

Review

This is a comprehensive HR tool that specializes in hourly work. While their time tracking tools are quite refined, their free version also offers team messaging, an app for employees, a hiring tool, and integrations with POS & payroll software. Their basic plan is free for unlimited employees, as long as the team is limited to one location.

Homebase

Stats

  • Used by over 100k businesses

Homebase

Pricing:

After the Basic free plan, Homebase starts at $14 per month.

Best For

Homebase is used by a wide array of small businesses in several industries, from restaurants and bars to retail, health, and hospitality.

Worth Checking Out:

Sentrifugo

Review

Sentrifugo is a great option if your company would like to pursue the open-source route, but this HRMS is more clearly aimed at small-to-medium-sized businesses. It’s completely free, except for the fact that, since it’s open-source, you have to maintain your own servers. That being said, the Sentrifugo platform is easy to configure and extremely customizable.

Sentrifugo

Stats

Sentrifugo

Pricing

Sentrifugo is completely free, but you need to take into consideration the cost of hosting it yourself.

Best For

SMBs that would like an open-source HRMS.

Worth Checking Out:

WebHR

Review

While not the prettiest-looking software out there, WebHR is a good solution for SMEs that need a social tool and would like to be able to add or delete modules as they go. WebHR is free if you have less than 5 employees and, depending on the modules added, it can be as little as $1 a month per staff member. The base modules that it bundles together are enough for most HR departments and include a built-in messenger and discussion forum. Other modules such as Payroll and Recruitment can be added for meager fees that don’t exceed $2 per employee per month.

WebHR

Stats

  • WebHR is available in 30 languages

WebHR

Pricing

WebHR's pricing after the free version depends on the amount of modules you add. As mentioned above, it can be as little as $2 per user per month for all the base modules.

Best For

Companies looking for a free tool that would like the option of upgrading at any time to be low-cost.

Worth Checking Out:

UZIO

Review

UZIO is an integrated, cloud-based platform for employers to manage HR, payroll, benefits, and more. Featuring automations for employee on-boarding/off-boarding, time tracking, compensation management, benefits administration, and tax administration, UZIO takes a great deal off of your HR team’s plate - all while minimizing errors.

UZIO

Stats

  • Trusted by 150+ partners
  • 1700+ employers
  • 50,000+ employees

UZIO

Pricing

UZIO has 4 pricing plans that give users access to specific functions of the system. These plans are priced as follows: 

  • Payroll: $4.50 per employee per month plus $30 per month
  • HRIS:  $4.00 per employee per month
  • Ben Admin (benefits administration): $4 per employee per month
  • Time Tracking: $2 per employee per month

UZIO also has an All-in-One plan that users can buy to access all of the above and more. This plan is priced at $10 per employee per month plus $30 per month.

Best For

Businesses of all sizes looking for an integrated platform for human resource management, payroll, benefits administration, and more can benefit from UZIO.

Worth Checking Out:

SnapHRM

Review

Among cloud-based applications for HR, SnapHRM is one of the hottest names right now. Their sleek design is quite easy to figure out and they get complimented a lot for the quality of their support. They offer a “Startup” version that’s completely free for up to 5 employees. After that, it’s still among the most modestly priced HR SaaS options, but their free version still gets you access to all the SnapHRM modules.

SnapHRM

Stats

SnapHRM

Pricing

After the free plan, SnapHRM starts at $8 per month for teams with 6-10 employees. It keeps going up depending on user count, with features not really changing that much. A thing worth noting is that if you pay yearly, you pay for only 10 months.

Best For

SnapHRM's offering is for companies with less than 100 employees, but they do offer custom pricing for bigger companies.

Worth Checking Out:

SnapHRM's self-hosted version if for unlimited employees and it's available for a one-time payment of $1499.

HRnest

Review

This vendor decided to focus on creating a solid platform for leave management, work schedules, and employee files. What’s great is that you can choose from either of those modules or get them all in a single place.

HRnest

Stats

  • 500+ clients
  • 1M holiday requests submitted

HRnest

Pricing

The default module, leave management, is free for less than 5 employees. After that, it can be as low as 10.50 USD per month and it subtly goes up as you add users or other modules.

Best For

HRnest is a good solution for SMBs but also large organizations.

Worth Checking Out:

Odoo

Review

The interesting thing about Odoo is that they divide nearly all their feature offerings into stand-alone applications. Any of these is free for unlimited users and unlimited time until you either need more space or add another application. This is an excellent choice if you only need, say, time off tracking or a payroll app, and can be quite cost-friendly if you require only a few additional applications. It’s also comforting to know that, with Odoo, you only pay for what you use.

Odoo

Stats

  • 5 million users
  • 1,500 active members
  • 4,500 modules
  • 1,500 downloads per day

Odoo

Pricing

Best For

Companies looking to fulfill a specific use case for free, or those that would like many of their business tech tools to come from the same vendor.

Worth Checking Out:

Odoo offers many more business solutions outside of HR, like CRM, IoT, Marketing Automation, etc. According to one of their client testimonials, Sodexo managed to replace 14 different applications by implementing Odoo, increasing revenues by 10%.

Zoho

Review

Zoho is a software company that makes everything from CRM to bookkeeping tools. Naturally, they also offer a cloud-based HRMS that’s bound to check most boxes in any HR manager’s requirement list. However, their free plan has a 5-user cap and includes only the basic HR functions.

Zoho

Stats

  • Over 40 integrated applications

Zoho

Pricing

Best For

Zoho People has plans for many sorts of organizations, even offering custom pricing for those with more than 500 employees.

Worth Checking Out:

Bitrix

Review

While not solely HR-focused, Bitrix24 is used by more than 8,000,000 organizations all over the world. Nevertheless, the free plan also adds countless other features from the other Bitrix products. While more of a collaboration SaaS platform with a massive variety of tools like CRM, project management, and even a website builder, Bitrix24 also offers a highly reliable and intuitive HR information system. As of 2021, it includes over 25 HR tools. From those, several such as company structure, employee directory, and company knowledge base are included in the free version for unlimited users.

Bitrix

Stats

  • Used by over 8 million organizations worldwide
  • 12,000+-wide global partner network
  • 400+ employees

Bitrix

Pricing

Best For

Companies looking for free HR tools with a bundle of other apps for business.

Worth Checking Out:

IceHRM

Review

This all-in-one HR solution comes in several forms, Lite, Cloud, and self-hosted. The Lite version is stunningly free for unlimited employees and also offers a 45-day free trial with all the features from the IceHrm Cloud version, with the option to upgrade at any time after that.

IceHRM

Stats

IceHRM

Pricing

Best For

Companies that would consider going the open-source route but prefer a free and cloud-based version to start things off with.

Worth Checking Out:

Orange HR

Review

This is one of the most trusted and more established names in human resource management software. They offer all the necessary features to run an HR department in the modern era, except for payroll management. Their open-source version is completely free and quite scalable, but it does require you to manage your own servers.

Orange HR

Stats

  • 100+ countries
  • 10+ million leave requests
  • 4+ million active users
  • 500,000+ operating vacancies

Orange HR

Pricing

Best For

Worth Checking Out:

OrangeHRM is an ISO 27001:2013 certified company.

BambooHR

Review

This list had to include one of the top names in human resources software. Unlike all the previous contenders, BambooHR doesn’t have a free version that you can use for unlimited time. However, they’re worth mentioning because they offer a free trial of their all-in-one software and then go out of their way to find a version that will suit you. Before they come up with a personalized quote that will fit your budget, however, they are also likely to extend your free trial upon request or even give you a free demo of the advanced features.

BambooHR

Stats

  • Over 1.8M active employees
  • 45,000+ new hires onboarded per month

BambooHR

Pricing

Since they offer customized pricing after the free plan, BambooHR doesn't disclose plans or exact price information.

Best For

Businesses and organizations of all kinds of sizes use BambooHR.

Worth Checking Out:

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Last advice for choosing your free HR platform

If you’ve made it this far, then it’s likely that you already have a couple of options in mind but aren’t quite sure which free software to settle on yet. The best advice we can offer here is to set up an account with them and try the tool for yourself. You really can’t tell if some of the features and user experience will work exactly as you’d like them to until you start using them. 

Fortunately, these are all free and take minutes to set up, so don’t feel bad or awkward about creating an account with several vendors, even talking to some of their sales representatives, and then sticking to one choice. In the end, this decision will probably shape a good part of every day of the following years for your HR department, so it shouldn’t be taken lightly. 

Lastly, remember to check with each of your internal stakeholders, making sure that their questions are addressed as well, and even demoing the product with them. The decision will be much wiser if it's enriched by the input of the whole team.

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