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10 Best Free HR Software Tools for Startups & SMBs (2024)

The best free human resources software tested, reviewed, and compared by SelectSoftware Reviews' HR tech experts. Find details on features, subscription plans, and more below.

Rodrigo Vázquez Mellado
Written by
Rodrigo Vázquez Mellado
HR and B2B software analyst and advisor, tech writer and editor, former conversational designer
We are a reader supported site with strict editorial standards, clicks may earn a fee which supports our testing. Learn More
Last Updated: Apr 02, 2024
TOP
Free HR Tool for Hourly Work
Homebase
4.6
Popularity Score
4.6
User Score
4.7
Product  Score
Visit Website
TOP
Free HR Tool for Hourly Work
Homebase
4.6
Popularity Score
4.6
User Score
4.7
Product  Score
Learn More
TOP
Global Payroll Leader Offering Free Plans
Deel
4.4
Popularity Score
4.6
User Score
4.5
Product  Score
Visit Website
TOP
Global Payroll Leader Offering Free Plans
Deel
4.4
Popularity Score
4.6
User Score
4.5
Product  Score
Learn More
TOP
For companies seeking a versatile system for people/project management
Monday.com
4.1
Popularity Score
4.6
User Score
4.3
Product  Score
Visit Website
TOP
For companies seeking a versatile system for people/project management
Monday.com
4.1
Popularity Score
4.6
User Score
4.3
Product  Score
Learn More
Over 3 million HR leaders trust our advice

Introduction to Free HR Software

Finding the best free human resources software is a decision that will have an impact on virtually every member of your organization, including future hires. 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 the HR managers in several industries that we've interviewed.

We are currently collecting HRIS pricing data through a quick and anonymous two-minute survey. By participating and contributing to the community, you will gain access to the complete data set!

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Top Free HR Software

Homebase

: Free HR Tool for Hourly Work

Deel

: Global Payroll Leader Offering Free Plans

Monday.com

: For companies seeking a versatile system for people/project management

Connecteam

: Free HR Tool for Deskless Workers

BambooHR

: Free Plans Offered by Well-Known Vendor

Bitrix24

: Numerous Free Features in a Comprehensive Suite

Odoo

: Free HR Tools Offered as Standalone Apps

Orange HRM

: Addresses Standard HR Needs, No Cost

Sentrifugo

: Open-Source, Free HR Software

WebHR

: Free & Low-Cost Scalable Tool for HR Operations

Zoho People

: Free HR Solution, Adaptable & Cloud Based

Our Criteria: Here's How We Chose The Top Free HR Software

We found the best free HR software by evaluating more than 30 tools on these key performance factors: payroll processing, recruitment and onboarding, performance reviews, employee management, and time-off management. Our real-world experience tells us that the first three of these elements matter most to teams looking for free HR software.

Our editorial team, all seasoned HR pros advised by industry leaders, led the research. We also gathered data from hands-on, user research.

  • Payroll Processing

Payroll is usually the first process that growing teams need to automate, so we scrutinized this feature on each free platform we evaluated. Specifically, we collected data about integration partners to assess each tool's ability to connect with common HRIS software (time-keeping, attendance, etc). We also compiled user feedback and integrated notes from their experience, and we looked into each platform’s flexibility in payment options (hourly, salary, contract, etc.).

  • Recruitment and Onboarding

This feature is critical for growing companies, so we consulted four thought leaders for their take on each platform’s approach. In addition to this “gut check,” we also evaluated for ease of integration (again, testing against common HRIS software), and we had our user research team run simulations of employee experience scenarios.

  • Performance Reviews

Growing businesses often underestimate the importance of performance assessment, and many regret not adopting a system early on. For our evaluation we asked our HR experts with the most extensive knowledge of innovations and best practices to weigh in on the 30+ companies we assessed for this guide.They graded each on a pass/fail basis, assessing the software’s approach to goal setting, analytics/reporting, feedback/coaching, and overall UX/UI.

When researching a product, we gather and assess every data point available, from broad historical context to individual user feedback. Guides like this one are unique: our methodology is refined, scientific, and rigorous. To learn more about our process, read this blog on how we evaluate HR tech vendors.

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Compare the Top Free HR Software

Popularity Score
Best for
Key Differentiator
Pricing
Free Trial
Customers
Users Score
Product Score

Homebase

Most Popular
4.6
Small business with hourly workers
Time tracking, in-app messaging for employees
$14/mo/user
Yes
400+ companies
4.6
4.7

Deel

Most Popular
4.4
Global teams needing free HRIS
Integration for global payroll software
Starts at $49/month
No
15,000+
4.6
4.5

Monday.com

Most Popular
4.1
4.6
4.3

Connecteam

Most Popular
4.0
Fully remote teams
User feedback drives features
Free up to 10 users
Yes
20,000+ customers
4.7
4.3

BambooHR

Most Popular
4.6
Cost-conscious SMBs
Well-known company with good UX/UI
Custom Pricing
Yes
30,000+
4.5
4.4

Bitrix24

Most Popular
4.1
Hyper-growth teams looking for all in one tool
Massive array of operational functions for business needs
$61/mo/user
Yes
8,000,000+ companies
4.1
4.0

Odoo

Most Popular
4.3
A-la-carte options good for tight budgets
Multiple languages offered
$7.25/mo/user
Yes
N/A
3.9
4.2

Orange HRM

Most Popular
4.1
Tech-savvy teams with a DIY attitude
Open-sourse, completely free
Custom Pricing
Yes
180+ companies
4.1
4.1

Sentrifugo

Most Popular
4.0
Teams who prioritize self-customization
Free, highly configurable, open source
Custom Pricing
Yes
17+ companies
4.3
4.2

WebHR

Most Popular
4.0
Scales well for small teams with basic needs
Per-feature pricing after 5 free users
$2/mo/user
Yes
25,000+ companies
4.3
4.0

Zoho People

Most Popular
4.0
Small teams with minimal needs
Free forever for up to five employees
Starts at $1.25/month
Yes
50m+ customers
4.3
4.1
Phil Strazzulla
HR Tech Expert, Harvard MBA, Software Enthusiast

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Detailed Reviews of the Best Free HR Software

Homebase

Visit Website
Homebase
Learn More
Popularity Score
4.6 / 5
User Score
4.6 / 5
Product Score
4.7 / 5

Why we picked Homebase

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.

PROS

  • Separate dashboards for managers and employees
  • Real-time communication features allow for schedule changes on the move
  • Requesting and approving paid time off is easy
  • Great scheduling templates help managers streamline work

CONS

  • Limited third-party integration support
  • Additional features are somewhat expensive

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 Customers

PokPok Restaurants, D'Amore's Pizza, Stella Taco, Blush Tea & Coffee, Legacy Farms

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.

Homebase in action
Reviewer's Rating
10/10

I utilize Homebase as a comprehensive scheduling solution for managing cleanings for my LLC's short-term rentals. The platform allows me to create and organize cleaning shifts for each property, ensuring that our units are consistently maintained to high standards and ready for guests' arrival.

With Homebase, we start by signing in and adding "Open Shifts" on any days we have turnovers for a given property. Then, based on each cleaning team member's availability (availability is shown within the app), we assign the shifts to prospective team members.

Homebase's user-friendly interface simplifies the scheduling process, allowing us to quickly make adjustments or reschedule shifts as needed.

What do you like about this tool?
  1. It is free! The free version of the app provides everything we need to solve our scheduling challenges.
  2. It is user-friendly. The web app is great for monthly scheduling, and the mobile app works for our team to view their shifts, etc.
  3. It was great that I could begin using it right away. There was no complicated onboarding process or steep learning curve.
Why did your organization buy this tool, and how long have you used it for?

I stumbled upon Homebase after a Google search looking for a scheduling tool. It has proven to be invaluable for coordinating the cleanings for my LLC's short-term rentals. Prior to using Homebase, we experienced significant challenges in efficiently managing and organizing the cleaning schedule for multiple properties with multiple members of our cleaning team. It was a time-consuming and error-prone process, resulting in delays and dissatisfaction among the team. We have used it for over three months now and have thoroughly enjoyed using the tool.

What do you dislike about this tool?
  1. The system sends a lot of automated notifications (app alerts, emails, text messages).
  2. There is a lot more functionality than we use it for, which is frustrating. We don't handle payroll, etc., through the app, but get notifications about these features all the time.
  3. Limited customization; I don't need an alert every time there is a scheduling "conflict" because oftentimes one employee will handle the turnover for multiple properties in a given day. I wish I could customize my views, alerts, etc., to better meet our needs.
How is this tool different than their competitors?

I have never used other scheduling tools so I'm unsure how it compares.

What Instructions should people think about when buying this type of tool?

One thing to think about is how you will handle communication and collaboration. Homebase's communication tools work adequately but aren't very robust. I sometimes get better responses from our team by just texting them, so consider how the tool facilitates communication and collaboration among team members. Look for features such as real-time notifications, messaging capabilities, and the ability to easily share schedule updates and changes.

How has this tool changed or evolved over time to meet users needs?

No changes that I'm aware of.

What specific type of user or organization is this tool very good for?

It's hard to answer this, but it's worked great for us - a small team of people managing short-term rental properties with a small team of people handling the scheduled cleanings for these properties.

What specific type of user or organization would this tool not be a good fit for?

It's hard to answer this, but it probably would not be a good fit for an organization that does not have scheduling demands.

Deel

Visit Website
Deel
Learn More
Popularity Score
4.4 / 5
User Score
4.6 / 5
Product Score
4.5 / 5

Why we picked Deel

Deel recently launched their free HRIS which comes with many features you may only find in a more robust system such as 1:1's, pulse surveys, and more.

PROS

  • Free to get started HRIS
  • Integrates with best in class global payroll solution
  • Full stack HR solution for global teams
  • One of the best features of Deel is its customer service. They offer 24/7 in-app support and the fastest-in-class onboarding speed of 2-3 days. Users get access to local payroll experts in each jurisdiction, and support is available for contractors facing challenges setting themselves up as an LLC.
  • Integrates seamlessly with common platforms like Quickbooks, Bamboo, Greenhouse, and more. They also offer custom integrations to automate and sync processes.
  • Self-service approach; tech-enabled features so customers can jump in quickly and easily. Our user researchers found it quite easy to set up: the identity verification process consistently took less than 24 hours, and in some cases, it took mere minutes.
  • Automated invoices, which are a breeze to do as long as they’re in English, both on the company and the contractor or employee’s side.

CONS

  • The cost of global payroll compliance is out of reach for many teams
  • Further, the HR portion of the tool is only offered as part of their global payroll products. You also have to set up a demo with their team to get started with the HR tool.
  • Some of Deel’s best and most powerful services, like onboarding automation, appear to be add-ons, which might be too costly for some companies
  • There is little to no flexibility when it comes to altering their contracts or service agreements, so many changes would require an addendum.
  • There is a $5 fee per payout
  • As far as we’ve seen, it’s not possible to generate invoices in another language.

Deel Review

If you're looking for a free HR software suite, this may be the best fit.  Deel's free HRIS is a great new addition to this global payroll company's offering. No, it's not going to have all the bells and whistles of a $10/employee/mo solution. And, it's new so will be buggy, we're sure.

That said, Deel has a long track record of putting together great solutions in the very complex world of paying international contractors/employees. It's not surprising that they are offering their HRIS for free either.  This is a great way to lock customers into their payroll offering, where they make more than enough money to stay afloat.

Overall, we'd recommend taking a look at this solution, especially if you're a global team that will need help with payroll/immigration/compliance in the future.

Deel Customers

  • Brex
  • Doogle
  • Duffel
  • Andela
  • HomeLight
  • Makerpad

Deel Pricing

Pricing for Deel's HRIS is completely free! Here's how they support this offering through payroll:

  • Contractors: At $49 per contractor per month, Deel takes care of payroll and compliance for contracts in 150 countries. 
  • Full-time: From $500, this plan lets you hire full-time employees in a new country without having to set up a legal entity there. Deel becomes an Employer of Record and hires the employee for you.

Best For

This is a great solution for companies that need a free HRIS, and may want to expand globally (or already have a global team). We see more and more teams starting remote first, and this is really an ideal solution for them.

Deel in action
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Monday.com

Visit Website
Monday.com
Learn More
Popularity Score
4.1 / 5
User Score
4.6 / 5
Product Score
4.3 / 5

Why we picked Monday.com

Monday.com offers customizable templates, automations, and a user-friendly interface for streamlining HR workflows and employee management. While not a complete HR solution, its flexibility and collaboration features make it a valuable tool for HR teams looking to optimize their processes.

PROS

  • Monday.com is highly customizable with automations that enable HR professionals to tailor the tool to their specific needs.
  • There are already over 200 pre-built templates you can use right away for different processes.
  • The free plan offers a range of beneficial features, such as unlimited documents, up to 3 boards, and access to the pre-designed templates mentioned above.
  • Free plan available, and affordable, scalable plans for small to midsize businesses
  • Easy to learn and use
  • Customizable dashboard
  • Collaborative document creation with the ability to turn content in docs into tasks in projects with a few clicks
  • Gamified progress tracking with visual celebrations for users
  • Workflow automation for repetitive tasks
  • Built-in communication tools reduce reliance on email
  • Customized forms for in-house or client use that can be easily turned into projects

CONS

  • Because Monday.com isn’t a traditional HR software, it does take some time to learn, customize and fully it up.
  • Upgrading to the Standard plan is necessary to access all the integrations and automation capabilities.
  • 3+ users are required to get on any of the paid plans
  • Limited storage on the Basic plan
  • Could be too complex for simple project management needs
  • No phone customer support
  • Tracking different conversations can be difficult because of all the clutter

Monday.com Review

While Monday.com isn’t your typical HR software, it offers a range of customizable templates and automations that make it a compelling choice for HR teams looking to streamline their workflow and employee management processes. Among its key strengths is the ability to centralize and organize employee data. From recruitment pipelines to employee performance reviews, the platform provides a single, easy-to-navigate hub for all HR-related information. This centralization not only improves efficiency but also enhances visibility for HR teams to make decisions more effectively.

Another area where Monday.com shines is in its employee engagement features. The platform offers a set of HR templates designed to simplify the process of conducting employee surveys, such as well-being and engagement assessments. By automating these processes and keeping all collected information in one place, Monday.com helps HR teams stay on top of employee sentiment and take proactive steps to improve retention.

Collaboration is at the heart of Monday.com, and this is evident in its HR offering as well. The platform's boards and dashboards make it easy for team members to work together, manage tasks, and stay updated on progress. Customizable automations further streamline processes by ensuring that timelines are met and tasks are assigned without manual intervention.

While Monday.com may not offer the full suite of HR functions like payroll and benefits administration, it compensates with a wide range of templates that cover most other HR processes. From employee lifecycle packages to time off requests and HR service management, the platform's template library provides a solid foundation for HR teams to build upon.

The user-friendly interface and extensive customization options make Monday.com an attractive choice for organizations looking to complement their existing payroll software with a powerful HR workflow management solution. The platform's versatility extends beyond HR, with applications in project management, marketing, sales, and more, making it a valuable asset for businesses of all sizes.

Monday.com Customers

Monday.com is used by 225,000+ companies including Lionsgate, Glossier, and Oxy.

Monday.com Pricing

The pricing of Monday.com’s platform ranges from $9 to $19, depending on the chosen plan. Additionally, there is a free plan that allows up to 2 user seats and 3 boards. For a detailed breakdown of pricing options, please visit the Pricing page on Monday.com.

Best For

Companies across different verticals can use Monday.com’s platform and customize it to their needs. The pricing is also scalable with a free plan for small businesses/startups.

Monday.com in action
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Connecteam

Visit Website
Connecteam
Learn More
Popularity Score
4 / 5
User Score
4.7 / 5
Product Score
4.3 / 5

Why we picked Connecteam

If you’re tackling human resources with a high number of deskless employees, Connecteam is an essential tool to consider. Not only is it great for remote teams, it has a free version for small businesses.

PROS

  • Stands out as one of the only fully-mobile HR tools for deskless workers in this category
  • Well-priced, providing substantial value to the needs of SMBs
  • Highly receptive to feedback, as evidenced by its track record of incorporating user suggestions as new features in the past
  1. One of the only fully-mobile HR tech tools for deskless workers
  2. Very adequately-priced for all it entails, SMB-friendly
  3. Quite open to feedback, having implemented user suggestions as features in the past.

CONS

  • The communication hub lacks confirmation for sent and/or seen messages, leaving users uncertain about the status of their messages.
  • Essential features like GPS tracking, valued by some teams, are only available in the higher-tier pricing plans.
  1. In the communication hub, the app offers no confirmation that messages were sent and/or seen. 
  2. Certain features that some teams consider essential, such as GPS-tracking, are only available in the higher-tier pricing plans.

Connecteam Review

Established in 2014, Connecteam stands out as a leading HR app dedicated to deskless workers. Recognizing a significant portion of the global workforce is now remote, Connecteam seized the opportunity to address this underserved segment. While most HR management tools cater to white-collar employees, Connecteam saw the need to provide tailored solutions for deskless workers and has been filling this gap effectively over the years.

So, if you’re looking for a straightforward yet powerful and intuitive tool for managing employees that may not even have an email address (and has a free plan!) Connecteam is a tool you should demo.

From the Connecteam mobile app (iOS and Android), HR managers can handle tasks like staff scheduling, attendance management, timesheets, training, employee onboarding, and much more. Workers can interact with their side of this via their mobile devices as well, where they can create an account with nothing but a phone number.

Now, all this being said, Connecteam is a great tool for HR in general, used by many desk-based companies as well. For instance, among the users we interviewed for this piece, we had HR managers from a data migration company (Relokia), and an IT services firm (PhotoAiD).

Connecteam Customers

Connecteam Pricing

Connecteam’s free plan is geared towards small businesses, since it allows up to 10 users only. It’s free for life and includes features like the time clock, shift planning, checklists, as well as task and document management.

Of course, it’s worth mentioning that, should your team grow beyond 10 individuals, Connecteam’s plans are modestly priced and include more features as you level up. Also, each paid plan has a 14-day free trial you can take. For more information on their paid plans, and Connecteam in general, we recommend checking out our full review.

Best For

SMBs with up to 10 employees, with most of them being deskless workers.

Connecteam in action
Reviewer's Rating
10/10

I use the solution to connect and collaborate with the team remotely, to develop work libraries that help our new team understand how we operate, our ethics, and our code of conduct during the orientations at our workplace, I also use the tool to share documents online for the team to work and to provide feedback on through the chat channel

What do you like about this tool?
  • I like the software pricing of the tool, it is cheap to use for business purposes and hence does not affect the ROI of the company.
  • I like the chat feature which you can use to broadcast your messages amongst the team at no extra cost.
  • Event notifications make sure that our users never miss our internal meetings and events

Why did your organization buy this tool, and how long have you used it for?

Connecteam is faster and easier to use, which has helped us solve the problem of team management, team collaborations, and group work, it is helping us to share documents, and work plans with the team remotely, and, also we use it as decision-making tool where we use the chat feature of the software to chat with our team remotely to make important decision makings to our tool. I have used the solution for three years and eight months as an administrator of the software

What do you dislike about this tool?

The software has a lot of video tutorials that play automatically hence creating inconvenience, one should only play the video when needed and with his or her consent.It does not have a calendar integration which makes it hard for one to integrate a calendar within the software to track personal events and business events to prevent event conflicts, the text editor in the tool is too slow when you are creating event descriptions, it is impossible to add the ALT text on images that you add in the tool.

How is this tool different than their competitors?

They have kept the pricing relatively lower to help even smaller businesses use the solution, and they have a responsive customer support team through the live chat

What Instructions should people think about when buying this type of tool?
How has this tool changed or evolved over time to meet users needs?
What specific type of user or organization is this tool very good for?

Good for HR, team leaders, and marketing teams

What specific type of user or organization would this tool not be a good fit for?

May not be a good solution for support teams

BambooHR

Visit Website
BambooHR
Learn More
Popularity Score
4.6 / 5
User Score
4.5 / 5
Product Score
4.4 / 5

Why we picked BambooHR

BambooHR is a trusted name in human resources tech. In addition to numerous perks and flexible pricing options, they offer a free trial. Note that this is not a free free version, but it’s worth checking out as their custom pricing can be quite reasonable.

PROS

  • Relatively cost-effective, with a free version that provides essential HR functionalities.
  • User-friendly platform that simplifies HR processes even for those inexperienced in the field. For instance, managing employee data, time-off tracking, and document storage is quite simple.
  • Conveniently mobile accessible. Certain HR tasks can be performed on the go with the BambooHR mobile app.
  • Flexible packaging and custom pricing is the way they roll. You can pick out one or two packages and pick other modules as add-ons based on your needs. 
  • Very simple and straightforward tool, easy to use.

CONS

  • The free version of BambooHR has limitations on certain advanced features and functionalities available to the paid plans.
  • Customization options may be restricted in the free version, limiting the ability to tailor the tool to specific organizational needs.
  • Support options may be limited for free users, with priority given to paid subscribers.
  • Payroll is only available for US-based employees 
  • Customer support is only offered during US business hours.
  • Some modules like time tracking, performance management, and surveys are only available as add-ons.

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 Customers

Among the 20,000+ companies that use BambooHR, you’d find names like Quora, Universal Group, Reddit, Asana, Change.org, University of Maryland, Grammarly, Stance, Postmates, Wistia, the Jacksonville Jaguars, and ZipRecruiter.

BambooHR Pricing

Pricing is not disclosed upfront, but they do 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 align with 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.

Best For

BambooHR's free HR tool is a good choice for small businesses and startups looking for a no-cost solution to streamline essential HR processes. It provides a user-friendly interface and essential HR features to efficiently manage employee data, making it particularly suitable for organizations with limited resources.

BambooHR in action
No items found.

Bitrix24

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Bitrix24
Learn More
Popularity Score
4.1 / 5
User Score
4.1 / 5
Product Score
4 / 5

Why we picked Bitrix24

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.

PROS

CONS

Bitrix24 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.

Bitrix24 Customers

Saigon Newport Corporation, Properters, Endelza International

Bitrix24 Pricing

Best For

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

Bitrix24 in action
Reviewer's Rating
9/10

I use Bitrix multiple times a week. Some of the key workflows I use it for include:

  1. Manage projects. We are able to create projects and assign them, set deadlines and be able to track the progress.
  2. Instant communication. It has various messaging tools such as video calls, instant messaging, and group chats so one can be able to see and respond to them quickly and at everyone's convenience.
  3. The document-sharing feature enables members to share various documents as well as being able to work on a single document with multiple team members simultaneously. This is by far the best feature for me!
  4. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) has made marketing processes easier and led to better customer relationships.

What do you like about this tool?
  • Better communication through instant messaging, group chats, and video calls. One is in the loop of whatever is going on and gets updates quickly.
  • Document sharing option. Every member can share a document, and other members can work on the same document simultaneously.
  • Better collaboration. This can mainly be attributed to enhanced communication.

Why did your organization buy this tool, and how long have you used it for?

My company was mainly trying to solve issues in relation to collaboration and communication. This has led to increased productivity and improved efficiency. We are able to share documents and properly manage our projects better than before. The tools being offered have streamlined our operations a great deal. I have been using Bitrix for 1.5 years now.

What do you dislike about this tool?
  • It can be a bit expensive compared to other similar tools out there. Having regular discounts would go a long way.
  • Someone who's not familiar with it will have a really hard time navigating through it. A short introductory video of how it works would really help.
  • Technical support varies with the different plans available, and this may cause agitation since the responses they are getting aren't necessarily the ones they're hoping for. I feel like the support should be the same regardless of the package one is using.

How is this tool different than their competitors?

It has an inclusive tool where one can do product management, CRM and communication. This means that my organization wouldn't have to use different software to achieve the same results.

What Instructions should people think about when buying this type of tool?

Pricing. Because there are different plans, one needs to be sure they get a plan that's within their budget.

Ease of use. One needs to make sure that learning how to use it wouldn't be a problem for its members and they'll navigate easily.

How has this tool changed or evolved over time to meet users needs?

I can confidently say that the enhanced features have improved communication and productivity for its members.

What specific type of user or organization is this tool very good for?

Small-sized business, project management, and customer relationship management.

What specific type of user or organization would this tool not be a good fit for?

Organizations that don't rely on technology to carry out their operations.

Odoo

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Odoo
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Popularity Score
4.3 / 5
User Score
3.9 / 5
Product Score
4.2 / 5

Why we picked Odoo

Oddo offers a massive variety of HR & business solutions that can cover many needs for a company. Plus, they do it in several languages.

PROS

CONS

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 Customers

Odoo is used by companies like Southern Wine Group, BizTech College, and XB Press Buyer.

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.

Odoo in action
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Orange HRM

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Orange HRM
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Popularity Score
4.1 / 5
User Score
4.1 / 5
Product Score
4.1 / 5

Why we picked Orange HRM

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.

PROS

CONS

Orange HRM 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 HRM Customers

Thousands of companies use one version or another of OrangeHRM. Some remarkable names include Johnny Rockets, Duke University, and RedHat.

Orange HRM Pricing

Best For

Orange HRM in action
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Sentrifugo

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Sentrifugo
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Popularity Score
4 / 5
User Score
4.3 / 5
Product Score
4.2 / 5

Why we picked Sentrifugo

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.

PROS

CONS

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 Customers

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.

Sentrifugo in action
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WebHR

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WebHR
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Popularity Score
4 / 5
User Score
4.3 / 5
Product Score
4 / 5

Why we picked WebHR

WebHR is completely free for teams with 5 or fewer employees. A perk of this product is that if you decide to upgrade, you can do it on a per-module basis instead of buying a whole suite.

PROS

CONS

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 Customers

According to their website, some of the companies that use WebHR include Nissan, WaterAid, zameen.com, and Budget.

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.

WebHR in action
Reviewer's Rating
9/10

I use the WebHR to update/add/delete employee information related to job title / information / contract details / attendance time record / performance review etc. Onboarding and offboarding is easier now since we started using this tool.

What do you like about this tool?
  • We can manage time and attendance records.
  • We can manage onboarding and offboarding.
  • We can manage the overall performance management of each employee.

Why did your organization buy this tool, and how long have you used it for?

Payroll, time and attendance, performance management, learning & development, recruitment -  all of these were pain points that led us to buy this tool. Prior to WebHR, we were using excel sheets / doing manual work. I have been using this tool for the last 4 years.

What do you dislike about this tool?
  • Limited report tracking and analysis.
  • Limited customization.
  • Occasionally, the system can be slow to respond.

How is this tool different than their competitors?

What Instructions should people think about when buying this type of tool?

The appealing quality of WebHR is that it can support the overall performance of each employee, both in small and large organizations.

How has this tool changed or evolved over time to meet users needs?

From time to time, they roll out enhancements to their existing features.

What specific type of user or organization is this tool very good for?

There is no specific type of organization required to buy the WebHR. Any organization can buy this tool to enhance their overall performance and reduce manual work.

What specific type of user or organization would this tool not be a good fit for?

Small organizations with under 10 employees don’t need to buy this tool.

Zoho People

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Zoho People
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Popularity Score
4 / 5
User Score
4.3 / 5
Product Score
4.1 / 5

Why we picked Zoho People

Zoho People has a free plan that any business can sign up for. It is permanently free for up to five users, and provides essential tools such as a mobile app, employee database, and time off management. It has proven a solid starting point for many growing startups.

PROS

  • Free plan includes essential HR features like employee data management and leave management.
  • Available in multiple languages.
  • All core HR features in a single dashboard 
  • Wide array of integrations 
  • User-friendly UI, constantly updated 
  • Available in multiple languages

CONS

  • Free plan is limited to five users and 250MB of storage.
  • The mobile app is occasionally buggy and slow to load.
  • Since they offer so many modules, some may be not as robust as other products that have been more specific about covering certain needs. For instance, some teams have found their payroll offering to be quite basic. 
  • Not all that’s available in the web platform is available in the app
  • Some users reported that the platform can be slow to load every now and then.

Zoho People Review

Zoho is a software company that makes everything from CRM to bookkeeping tools. The platform also offers a cloud-based HRMS that’s bound to check most boxes in any HR manager’s requirement list.

To test the product, we signed up for Zoho free plan and found that, while it has some limitations, it provides a strong set of basic features that are good for small business.

There is a five-user cap on the free plan (including one administrator), and storage is limited to 250MB. It includes basic HR functions like leave management and also some more exotic features like an AI chatbot.

“Zia” the chatbot, is a unique feature that helps employees find solutions to HR questions without requiring one-on-one help from an HR rep.

Employees simply ask a question, and the bot uses keywords to search the existing FAQs. If there are no matches, Zia automatically creates a new case that will be handled by an HR rep, and the database of FAQs grows.

Though the free plan features are basic, many users comment on the convenience of having multiple aspects of employee data available in one place. The mobile apps are also well-liked overall but are reported to lag occasionally.

However, 250MB of storage can be a deal-breaker for some teams. Additionally, customers on the free plan do not have access to 24/7 customer support, though they are offered support during normal business hours.

Zoho People Customers

ZPE Systems, Cloudfronts Technologies, Zomato, SpiceJet, Foresight CFO.

Zoho People Pricing

Zoho People is free for up to five users. They also offer the following plans, billed annually,

  • Essential HR: $1.25 per user per month.
  • Professional: $2 per user per month.
  • Premium: $3 per user per month.
  • Enterprise: $4.5 per user per month.

Best For

The free version is a sound starting point for startups and budget-minded teams to take advantage of essential HR tools.

Zoho People in action
Reviewer's Rating
8/10

Mostly for the HR operations (HRMS). You can get in touch with HR easily, even from the HR's end things will be pretty organised. From hiring to retaining it has most of the features and capabilities seeded into it. Pick the ones you require and drop things which you don't need.

What do you like about this tool?
  • Easily application process for leaves: You can apply for leaves according to the leaves calendar, and things are easily trackable.
  • Events can be created and notifications are broadcasted through open channels.
  • Salary slips and payroll information: Getting payslips and salary information is easy. It also provides a dashboard and shows downloadable payslips, which are easily accessible.
Why did your organization buy this tool, and how long have you used it for?

Not Zoho People exactly, but we purchased the full ecosystem of Zoho, called Zoho One, which consists of several tools that we wanted. From their (Zoho) demo, we liked the interface and capabilities of most of the tools. We were looking for a platform through which people can get most things under a single umbrella, so we had the demo, used it for a month, customized it to our liking, and they delivered. That’s when we decided to subscribe for a whole year.

What do you dislike about this tool?

Zoho People is full of features. The only con is the UI. Besides that, the software is really future proof. I’d suggest for the dev team to build in smarter UI features.

How is this tool different than their competitors?

I have used Darwinbox and SugarCRM, but this software has way more added features to make things easy for the employees and the HR management.

What Instructions should people think about when buying this type of tool?

The tool is expensive, if you have a large pool of employees then it would be great if you could talk with their representatives and ask for a discount. But it's well worth it. My only suggestion is get the demo, use it, if you think it's worth the price, go for it.

How has this tool changed or evolved over time to meet users needs?

Yes, I have used it before, but back then there were a lot of bugs. But now the software has become smoother and easier to use.

What specific type of user or organization is this tool very good for?

If you are managing a big pool of employees.

What specific type of user or organization would this tool not be a good fit for?

Small startups, it would be too expensive.

Pro Tips on Free HR Software

Pitfalls of Choosing Free HR Software Systems

The benefits of using HR management software are substantial, but there are many common mistakes when buying and implementing a new tool that you should consider at every step of your search. We list them below along with ways to avoid them: 

  • Rushing the decision: Often, teams get carried away by the look of an interface, good reviews, and functionality of a product, while neglecting their own needs. They then realize that their new shiny tool is lacking a key feature when it’s too late.
    Design and reputation are important when vetting any software, but they must be considered at the service of a broader goal. Any software decision must be preceded by the proper identification of a team’s needs, past issues, the main concerns of the workforce, and the overall objectives of the company. Are you even sure than an HRIS is the tool you need?
  • Lack of awareness: This is probably not your case because you’re reading this, but some HR managers tend to choose a tool without fully understanding the kind of features available and what they do. It’s a common situation to be looking for new software systems to address one or two major pain points, without considering that the same decision could alleviate lots of other HR processes.
  • Not consulting teammates: This can be disastrous when implementing all kinds of tech tools, let alone HR software, as it's one of the main reasons tech projects fail. Employees won’t need the same features as managers, and they’ll each weigh importance on each feature differently. Checking with other employees in every department can be a painstaking process, even in a small business, but in the long run, it’s worth it. Even if the software is free, having to change vendors after implementation can be quite costly.
  • Overlooking security & support: Just because there’s a budget constraint, it doesn’t mean that these important aspects should be ignored in favor of whatever software can do the most for the least. Often, and particularly among the vendors we’ve selected for this guide, the handling of sensitive employee data and customer support can still be excellent. However, as with any other feature, it should be considered with your team’s particular needs in mind.

Benefits and ROI of HR Software Solutions

The main benefit of having the right HR software at the core of your department is that everyday processes can be streamlined or even automated, freeing up time to focus on more strategic efforts. If an HR manager is not consumed by repetitive tasks like filing paperwork or keeping track of PTO balances, he or she can focus instead on finding ways to increase employee satisfaction, improving retention rates, or working with other managers to find the best possible fit for each opening. 

In more quantitative terms, recent research from Greenhouse, an Applicant Tracking System, shows that automating the onboarding process can reduce the time usually invested by 50%. If you consider the hourly rate of this HR professional at $33 USD per hour and contemplate that an average onboarding takes 11 hours and is normally done for 30 new employees per year, you’re talking about $5,450 in annual savings thanks to the automation. 

Pricing for Each HR Software Vendor

All of the software that we’ve discussed here is completely free in some form or another. Some of them put a user cap of either 5 or 50 employees, while others have free unlimited basic plans, or cost nothing because they are open source. 

Below, you can compare each of these options according to their pricing model to see just how free are they, what’s their catch, and which one does fit your needs: 

SoftwarePricing Model
FreshteamThe Sprout version is completely free for up to 50 employees.
BitrixIt’s free among tons of other tools and for unlimited users, but the full HR features are limited until you upgrade.
Zoho PeopleFree plan for only 5 users or less.
OdooFree if you only need one application, then you pay based on the apps you add.
HomebaseTheir basic plan is free for unlimited users, as long as the team is limited to one location.
Orange HRMTheir open-source version is free.
DeelFree HRIS when using their payroll services.
SentrifugoFully open-source, so no cost except for self-hosting.
WebHRAll base modules are free for less than 5 employees.
ConnecteamFree for life for up to 10 users, good basic plan for SMBs.
BambooHRFree trial and/or free demo of their all-in-one software.

Key Features to look for in HR Management Systems

In case you’re new to HR software, what kind of features should you prioritize in your pick? Although these are free, it might not make sense to base your selection solely on the number of features, while certain options could work better in regard to user experience and integrations, for instance, even if their feature list is shorter. 

HR management software can be the difference between overstaffing the HR department, perhaps even the company, or making all HR processes as productive and efficient as they can be. However, to achieve that ideal scenario, your HR tool of choice should have all the features you need or it’s going to be back to square one. 

In that spirit, let’s take a look at the common features that most HR professionals consider must-haves: 

  1. Employee management: This feature will have the employee database at its core and is where you can keep track of most things about the relationship of an employee with the company. A high-end employee management feature should include self-service, meaning that the employee can also access and update his or her information.
  2. Performance Reviews: Since every employee’s information should already be within the HR system, it makes sense for their evaluation to be managed there as well. This tool should allow feedback to be gathered from both parts and is also where new goals can be set for workers & teams.
  3. Payroll Processing: The best HR software usually comes with a fully-functioning tool to manage payroll and keep track of salaries. However, since payroll and accounting practices can vary depending on your location, many vendors prefer to sit this one out. If your HR tool doesn’t come with this function, it’s imperative that it can integrate easily with a payroll processing system.
  4. Recruitment & Onboarding: If the idea is to concentrate all employee data in one place, why not handle recruitment from there as well? Many HRMS come with a basic Applicant Tracking System that can do everything from publish a job posting to onboarding a new employee.
  5. Time Off Management: Any HR professional knows that keeping track of employee schedules and time-off is one of the department's main functions. The HR solution should have a module or app that addresses this as well, whether it’s through time-tracking (if you need that), attendance-keeping, as well as eliminating complexities from the leave request process. Bonus points if it also comes with a calendar that every employee can consult in order to know who’s off on a given day.

Demo Questions for Vetting HR Software

So let’s say you’ve selected 1 or 3 options for your new HR management software that will likely fulfill your business needs. Then, the next step would be to give them all a try and see for yourself which one works best. Now, while most of the tools we’ve listed here are extremely easy to get started with (as in, just create a user, a password, and use the web version), most of them also give you the option of requesting a demo.

Whether you’re asking for a demo or just using the software for the first time, it’s wise to step into it with a game plan and some key questions in mind. For this, you should first decide the needs of your organization, the key tasks and HR processes that need to be automated or managed, and any particular integrations you may require.

After doing such a self-analysis, you should come up with a list of questions like the following.

  • Which features stand out as the ones I need to try out?
  • How seamless will the integration between this tool and our current tech sack be?
  • Will other people on the team find value in using this tool?
  • In what ways can this tool enhance candidate experience?
  • What are the sticking points that would make me or my colleagues apprehensive about transitioning to this platform?
  • How well does the vendor manage information security concerns?
  • What initial insights can I draw about the quality of customer support? Does the platform provide a helpful help center with high-quality support articles?

Implementing an HR software

Once you select the HR system that is right for you, the implementation process will vary depending on their operation. If you’re talking about an open-source solution like OrangeHRM or Sentrifugo, the process will likely entail a lot of communication and collaboration with their team. On the far other end of the intricacy spectrum, a cloud-based tool like Freshteam or SnapHRM gets you up and running within minutes. Each vendor page will explain their particular process in much more detail, and many will call or email you shortly after you’ve set up an account or asked for a demo in order to address questions or solve any issues you might be having.

If you'd like to read up a bit more on what to do after implementing a new HR tech solution, including proved processes and tips from an expert, we recently put together a brief guide to an HR software implementation.

Free HR Software FAQs

What is free HR software?

Free HR software is any tool or solution that aims to improve the functionality of a company’s HR team.

What does HRIS stand for?

HRIS stands for Human Resource Information System.

What does HCM stand for?

HCM stands for Human Capital Management.

What does HRMS stand for?

HRMS stands for Human Resource Management System.

What’s the difference between HRIS, HCM, and HRMS?

On a surface level, there isn’t a huge difference between HRIS, HCM, and HRMS. They are all people management systems for companies. However, there can be some subtle differences. An HRIS is an all-encompassing in-house software for managing people, procedures and policies. An HCM has all the features of an HRIS, but often includes talent management capabilities. An HRMS has all of the features of an HRIS and HCM, but often includes payroll and time and labor management capabilities.

Why use free HR software?

Reasons to use free HR software include: saving time with automation, improving employee experience, improving employee performance, increased compliance, better organization, streamlined hiring, better business intelligence, and workforce management.

What are some key features of free HR software?

There are many key features of free HR software, such as: employee self-service portal, time and attendance management, onboarding capability, custom reporting, benefits administration, employee database, recruiting functionality, training and development management, company document storage, and compensation management.

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. 

If you're in need of a spreadsheet to help you organize this process, be sure to try our HR & Recruitment software buyer organizer. It's free ;)

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.


About Us

  • Our goal at SSR is to help HR and recruiting teams to find and buy the right software for their needs.
  • Our site is free to use as some vendors will pay us for web traffic.
  • SSR lists all companies we feel are top vendors - not just those who pay us - in our comprehensive directories full of the advice needed to make the right purchase decision for your HR team.

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