Best HCM Software - September 2021

The best HCM software, hand-picked for enterprises, along with benefits, pitfalls, pricing, 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 18, 2021

Finding the best HCM software for your business starts with understanding what human capital management is. More than a software category, HCM is a set of practices within human resources that aim towards increasing the value that employees bring to the company.

According to the Gartner Glossary, HCM focuses on providing specific competencies for workers and is implemented in three categories: workforce acquisition, workforce management, and workforce optimization.

Hence why it’s tricky to differentiate between an HRMS and HCM software. Some vendors have made their products with HCM practices in mind, so they can be called both an HCM and an HRMS. Through hours of research, we’ve rounded up the best HCM software vendors based on their features for human capital management, as well as quality of support, implementation, customer success, UX, and much more.

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: Best HCM Software

Rippling is an HR management platform for everything between onboarding and offboarding, with a soothing design and great user experience.
Paycor is a robust and data-centric HCM for leaders at US-based companies that want their teams to save time with HR transactional tasks.
Ceridian are the makers of Dayforce, a modern cloud HCM platform that can manage the entire employee lifecycle.
As one of the top names in HR software, BambooHR is a flexible, user-friendly, and trustworthy tool with HCM capabilities.
Oracle is one of the top names in IT. Their HCM is popular among enterprises with more than 1,000 employees and boasted for its implementation and CS practices.
Workday is one of the most popular people management software products out there, specifically geared towards enterprises.
SAP SuccessFactors is one of the big names in HCM. They’re currently pushing the boundaries of the category itself, calling their product an HXM suite, for Human Experience Management.
ADP’s Vantage HCM is an all-in-one solution for strategic human capital management, with open architecture.
UKG is the merger of Ultimate Software and Kronos. As such, it brings over 70 years of experience with People tech into the HCM space.
Sage People is an end-to-end cloud solution that’s great for managing HR and people ops for global workforces.

We put in the effort to make this guide awesome

53
Hours Researched
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Experts Consulted
22
Vendors Reviewed

Featured in

Top Human Capital Management Software

We track thousands of HRTech solutions, these are the best HCM Software vendors for several business sizes and regions per our research and expert council as of September 2021.

Rippling

Review

Rippling is a relatively new company started by Zenefits alumni. They focus on helping small and medium organizations kill HR and IT busywork with one solution. An interesting thing about them is that they try to make their software easy to use and intuitive not just for HR professionals and recruiters but for the CEO, IT staff, and any team member who will interact with the product.

Their product falls in line with what you’d expect from a Silicon Valley-based startup: a great UI, eye-catching design, and fast performance. Notably, they also have over 500 integrations with everything from Slack to GitHub.

Rippling

Stats

  • Named a “Next $1B Startup” by Forbes in early 2020
  • Became an actual $1B startup just months after that mention, getting valued at $1.35 billion in August 2020
  • Over 1,000 reviews on the main business software sites, all averaging 4.9 stars
  • Over 4,000 health insurance plans to choose from on platform
  • 500+ integrations

Rippling

Pricing:

Rippling’s pricing starts at $8 per month per user and will vary depending on which modules you’d like to use (or if you want the whole platform) and for how many people.

Best For

SMBs with a strong need for automation in HR processes

Worth Checking Out:

Paycor

Review

Aside from having payroll, employee experience, recruiting, benefits, and performance management, Paycor stands out from most HCM vendors for having some of the most potent HR analytics out there. They provide a custom company dashboard that leaders can build out as they please, choosing from literally hundreds of reports such as headcount trends by employment time, projected headcount, and voluntary turnover by tenure, just to mention a few.  

Further, some of their reports use secondary pools of data in order to provide benchmark analysis in real time. This effectively helps executives and HR leaders alike better understand their workforce and how their efforts stack up in comparison to similar companies.

Paycor

Stats

  • Paycor is used by over 40,000 businesses
  • Raised $270M in private equity during 2020
  • Went public in July 2021, raising $426M in their IPO
  • 2080+ employees
  • Founded in 1990

Paycor

Pricing:

Fees will vary depending on your number of employees and the modules you add.

Best For

Companies in the US with up to 1,000 employees, mainly in manufacturing, healthcare, food and beverage, non profits, and professional sport organizations.

Worth Checking Out:

ADP

Review

As one of the most trusted and longest-standing vendors in the business technology space, it’s natural that ADP would have an HCM product. Although it’s only available for businesses in the United States, they’re worth a mention and are interesting to look into. Their set of features is almost like a playbook when it comes to, as they put it, “turning human potential into business success”.

ADP

Stats

  • 860,000+ clients around the world
  • Named among Fortune World’s Most Admired Companies for 14 consecutive years

ADP

Pricing

As with most, if not all of ADP’s products, pricing details for their Vantage HCM are not provided upfront.

Best For

Large US-based multinational businesses

Worth Checking Out:

This HCM is powered by ADP’s Data Cloud, a tool that injects real-time data into your business processes.

BambooHR

Review

A notable thing about BambooHR is that they offer flexible plans and several iterations of their technology to fit your business. Their HR platform spans across the employee lifecycle as they also have recruiting and performance management in addition to the core HRMS functionality. They also have numerous amenities like an app marketplace of HR/recruiting vendors that integrate with their system, an HR glossary, and occasional HR events.

BambooHR

Stats

  • Over 1.8M active employees as of April 2021
  • 45,000+ new hires onboarded per month
  • 20,000+ active client organizations

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

Companies looking for a very customizable product and pricing that reflects their needs. It’s also popular among teams that are partially or even fully remote.

Worth Checking Out:

SAP SuccessFactors

Review

SAP is trying to transform traditional human capital management into a more employee-oriented endeavor. Through their HXM, they are trying to put the worker’s experience as the main focus of the way companies engage with their people. Their product helps HR managers deliver experiences that resonate with employees while shaping their strategy.

One thing to consider is that SAP, like many of the biggest companies doing HCM products, has been criticized for having a frustrating user experience. With their shift towards being an HXM, however, it looks like they're tackling that issue and moving in the right direction.

SAP SuccessFactors

Stats

SAP SuccessFactors

Pricing

Pricing for SAP’s HXM suite is only available upon request.

Best For

Enterprises looking to improve UX

Worth Checking Out:

Over 1,000 customers have implemented SAP’s intelligent mentoring offering.

WorkDay

Review

Workday is one of the best talent management systems and HCM suites particularly for large enterprises. Although it is true that their reputation is not the best with users and the HR teams that have to implement the solution, if you’re in need of a product that can scale, checks the necessary IT/Infosec boxes, and can be implemented across large global companies, Workday HCM is worth looking into.

WorkDay

Stats

  • Workday is used by over 45% of the Fortune 500 companies. 
  • As of 2021, they count over 7,000 users.

WorkDay

Pricing

The exact pricing details of Workday HCM aren’t provided by the vendor, since they’ll likely tailor their offer to your business size and needs. They also don’t offer a free trial, but you can see the tool for yourself through their demo videos online.

Best For

Large enterprises

Worth Checking Out:

UKG

Review

Ultimate Software was mainly known for its core HR tech product, UltiPro. Now that they’ve merged with Kronos, UltiPro has been rebranded as UKG Pro. The new company behind it, the Ultimate Kronos Group, aims to combine HCM capabilities with robust people data and analytics. Further, thanks in part to the merger, word is that the service delivery of the HR teams that use UKG has improved considerably.

UKG

Stats

  • Ranked #6 on Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work for list 
  • Handling over 51 million people records in the cloud
  • Generating an estimated $3 billion in revenue per year
  • Over 12,000 employees
  • Valued at $22 billion

UKG

Pricing

The price of UKG Pro is not revealed on their website, although research has shown that licenses tend to start at $600.00 per year for every 5 users.

Best For

Companies looking for an enterprise-grade product, regardless of HR team size.

Worth Checking Out:

Oracle

Review

Oracle’s HCM suite is built for the cloud and made for connecting every single HR process. It’s good for teams looking to have a single source of truth for HR data in order to improve decision making. Their product includes talent management, recruiting, workforce management, payroll, and HCM analytics. The interface is not the best-looking out there and UX can be frustrating for employees and HR alike, but they're still one of the top choices for large scale implementations.

Oracle

Stats

  • 80% of product updates come from customer feedback
  • 98% of roadmap commitments are met

Oracle

Pricing

Oracle doesn’t provide pricing details for their HCM upfront. To get a quote, you’d have to request a demo, but they also offer interactive product tours that you can take before chatting to a sales rep.

Best For

Enterprises with over 1,000 employees in most parts of the world.

Worth Checking Out:

Oracle has a customer community called Cloud Customer Connect with over 200,000 members.

Ceridian

Review

The Dayforce HCM by Ceridian unifies data from all stages of the employee lifecycle for better decision-making and data-driven insights. It combines HR, payroll, benefits, workforce management, and talent management.

In particular, Dayforce is built with a flexible rules engine that helps address complex regulatory requirements while providing real-time updates and calculations.

Ceridian

Stats

  • Certified as a Great Place to Work in 2020
  • 5,800+ employees

Ceridian

Pricing

Pricing for the Dayforce HCM suite is not provided upfront.

Best For

Ceridian’s Dayforce HCM is best for enterprises with over 1,000 employees.

Worth Checking Out:

Ceridian’s Corporate Social Responsibility efforts take the form of Ceridian Cares, an employee-driven charity that tries to improve the communities where the company operates.

Sage People

Review

Sage's HRIS is a fully-customizable HR suite with comprehensive HCM capabilities. Sage People is a great option for companies in the small to medium enterprise range (150 - 5k employees) that have a global presence. It’s a very broad product that also integrates with the rest of Sage's ERP suite, which includes tools for finance, accounting, business management, and more.

Sage People

Stats

  • 400k+ users
  • 95% retention rate
  • 500 customers
  • Presence in over 150 countries
  • #1 multinational HR and People management system on Salesforce

Sage People

Pricing

While the price of Sage People isn't disclosed, you can take an interactive tour and see the tool for yourself. Afterwards, you can get in touch with their team to get a customized quote.

Best For

Medium enterprises with a global workforce

Worth Checking Out:

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Last Advice on Buying HCM software

To wrap this up, we’ll assume that you’ve read everything above and have a couple of vendors in mind to reach out to and book a demo. To send you off to this part of the buying process, there’s one last piece of advice that can help a great deal when evaluating HCM software providers. 

These demos should revolve around your HCM requirements, and you should try to avoid having one-size-fits-all demonstrations whenever possible. To do this, share your list of requirements and questions beforehand, asking them to show that specific functionality. Since reporting is such a big part of human capital management, you could even give them data for them to run into the system.

This way, you and your team will get to truly see how much of a fit the tool is for you, as well as gauging for factors like intuitiveness and overall user experience. Couple this guide with resources like ADP’s 10 tips for HCM vendor evaluation or our very own HR & recruitment software buying organizer, and you’ll be on your way to find the perfect platform for your HCM needs.

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