List of 12 Best HRIS Systems & Software (Q1 2023)

Looking for the best HRIS software out there? Here's our list after months of research, along with advice on HRIS pricing, benefits, and how to pick the right solution

Phil Strazzulla
HR Tech Expert, Harvard MBA, Software Enthusiast

"SSR is the best platform to discover top 1% HR tools. Their 10 years of HR Tech experience makes their reviews the best in the industry! Every time I speak about HR technology, SSR is my number one recommendation to for people pros."

Tracie Sponenberg
Chief People Officer, The Granite Group.

"SSR is my go-to place when it comes to researching HR tools. Their product reviews are real time-savers and trustworthy, and the online community is fantastic for bouncing questions and ideas off of others in the Talent space!"

Peter Stein
Building & Defining Recruiting Operations at Clear Street

"I trust SSR's HR Tech Reviews because they talk to so many experts, know the right questions to ask and uncover during in-depth product demos to come up with their best picks"

Stacie Justice
People + Strategy at Soundwide

We spend all day researching the best HR software so you don’t have to.  We never take money from vendors during our research phase and rely heavily on experts to refine our recommendations.  We may earn a fee if you click on vendor links on this page. Learn more about SelectSoftware Reviews

HR software comes in all shapes and sizes, but the best HR software fits like a glove. If you’re shopping for Human Resources Information Software (HRIS), you’re in luck because we’ve identified the top three: Deel, BambooHR, and Paycor. These rock-solid platforms perform under pressure. How do we know? Research, of course!

Read on to learn what happens when data-driven HR pros collaborate with industry experts. It’s not easy to make our list of the best HRIS systems, so keep reading to learn who else made the cut, and much more.

The Best HRIS Systems

Hand picked by our HR Technology experts after product testing, user research, and much debate - enjoy!

Deel is a fantastic (did we mention free?) HRIS for remote and international teams that need a way to compensate their employees, and a system for record.
BambooHR has remained one of the top names in HR software for years. They have won numerous awards for customer support, ease of use, and good value. Their numerous features can be flexibly packaged according to your needs.
Paycor is a robust and data-centric HR software for leaders at US-based companies that want their teams to save time with HR transactional tasks.
OnPay is very quick to set up and is quite affordable for a solution that combines payroll, HR, and benefits.
Bob is a global platform that can streamline pretty much everything an HR department needs to do, in a highly customizable manner.
Rippling is an HRIS platform with a pleasing design and thoughtful UX that handles everything between onboarding and offboarding.
Sapling’s modern and intuitive platform is one of the only remote-focused HRISs out there. It’s particularly great for onboarding and workflow automation.
Freshteam is an HR suite that’s already used by over 3,000 customers, well-regarded by small, mid-sized, and big companies alike.
As a merger of two leading companies in HR solutions, UKG (Ultimate Kronos Group) builds on 70 years of experience in People tech with their UKG Pro HR solution. The latter is their Core HR offering people analytics and benefits administration.
Sage People is a scalable and highly configurable cloud HR solution that helps manage People processes for global workforces. The tool features a recruitment module as well automation for essential HR workflows.
Namely is an all-in-one HR platform designed to be used by everyone and made for mid-sized companies specifically in mind.
Zenefits offers comprehensive plans with HR, payroll, and benefits in a one-size-fits-all platform.

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Introduction to HRIS Systems

Human Resources Information Software (HRIS systems) are critical to business operations, but they tend to be fairly expensive with rigid contracts, and choosing the wrong one can be an operational disaster (not to mention, bad for your reputation around the office).

This guide covers everything you need to know to make a highly-informed choice if you’re in the market. We talk about cost, contracts, common pitfalls, ROI, and tips for product demos. On top of these resources, we will also bring in the voices of three expert contributors: Phil Strazzulla (our founder and CEO), Stacey Richey (VP of People at Corvus Insurance, 18+ years in HR) and Danielle Jones (CEO of Pinnacle Consulting Services, 10+ years in business and HR). Read on to feel confident making a choice of great consequence!

Our criteria: How we chose the best vendors

We take research seriously. To make sure we’re offering our readers the very best solutions in a given software category, we are methodical, rigorous, and expansive in our research. We consult with HR professionals, vendors, and industry experts. We cut through the noise to bring you a carefully curated list of vendors, along with other essential information, to help you find the right software platform for your business. 

Here’s how we chose who makes the cut: 

Product: We believe in gaining a comprehensive understanding of a product before we recommend it, so we start by getting to know the software. Whenever possible, we meet with a senior executive (CEO or Head of Product) for a demo and Q&A. We also test the product ourselves to make sure it has a solid UI, intuitive workflows, and the features to make it a best-in-class offering. 

User feedback: We go straight to the source and compile feedback on user experience. Real-world input supports our commitment to diligence in our software evaluation methods and the products we recommend. Keeping up with the everyday experience of HR pros also puts new vendors on our radar, and it keeps us close to our community so we can better connect the right products to the right people.

Financial metrics: We are certified finance nerds, so we use all the data we can get our hands on to make selections for our guides. We comb through data for concrete statistics like retention rates, growth, profitability, and scalability. We evaluate the bottom line of each product because we know making a software purchase can put your reputation on the line. 

Best for a use case: Software is never a one-size-fits-all product. Sometimes the best solution is free or cheap. Other times it’s the one that is best for global companies or the one that’s sized right for early-stage startups. Keeping this in mind, we include solutions across the spectrum so our readers can find the best fit for their unique needs.

Here's more detail if you want to read more about how we research vendors. Our dedicated staff writers rely on hard data, impartial experts, and user feedback to ensure our reviews are helpful, truthful, and hopefully a pleasure to read!

Top HRIS Systems

We track thousands of HR tech solutions. These are the best HRIS systems per our research and expert council as of 2023.



We added Deel's HRIS to this page as it's really the first free HRIS with a global focus. Deel has a number of very large companies (Nike, DropBox, Shopify) using their global payroll platform. However, we view this HRIS as more focused on SMB and mid market companies that need a solution for a global team. This is different than their global payroll solution which companies of all sizes can leverage.

Deel is a leader in the global payroll space, and this new HRIS functionality allows them to go deeper into the HR Tech stack of smaller companies. It's an easy, free, and adequate solution. That said, it reminds us of Gusto a bit in that the functionality isn't as robust as many HRIS's. Just like Gusto added some HRIS like features to their payroll offering, Deel is doing the same.

So - this is great for companies that are global, smaller, cost conscious. But, there will be tradeoffs with more robust systems (which of course will cost a lot more!).



Pricing for Deel's HRIS is completely free! However, they do make money as a business, mostly on their global payroll offering:

  • 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.

A cool thing about Deel is that you can sign up for free and play around with the tool, not being charged until you pay your first team member. Once you do, pricing for Deel will vary as follows: 

  • 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

Their HRIS is best for smaller companies that have global payroll needs.

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BambooHR Dashboard Screenshot - one of the best hris software



BambooHR’s platform has consistently been among the top choices for HR professionals in the US and beyond for over 10 years. In good measure, that’s because their HR platform spans across the entire employee lifecycle. Aside from the Core HR functions like leave management, employee records, and a company calendar,  they also have recruiting and performance management and payroll available as add-ons.

That being said, the HRIS is offered  as a small business package. Notably, they also have numerous amenities like an app marketplace of HR/recruiting vendors that integrate with their system, an HR glossary, and host HR events on occasion.



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.

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 is a good fit for companies looking for a very customizable HR product, with pricing that reflects their needs. It’s also popular among teams that are partially or even fully remote.

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Our reviewer took screenshot of Paycor's HRIS system during the review



Aside from having payroll, employee experience, recruiting, benefits, and performance management, Paycor stands out from most HR software 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.



The pricing of Paycor’s plans isn’t disclosed upfront. Contact a sales representative to get a custom quote.

Paycor's ACA Connect service is an add-on to their greater HR software. Therefore, you're paying for an entire HCM. The ACA is relevant only to companies with over 50 employees. This means you'll have to pay for their Mid-Market plan, which doesn't have listed prices online. You'll have to meet with their sales team to negotiate pricing. However, you do get the bonus of a free first three months.

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.

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Our reviewer took screenshot of OnPay's HRIS software during the review



OnPay is a cloud-based payroll software that also offers features for HR management and benefits administration. It is quick to set up and user-friendly. Their pricing is also simple, transparent, and affordable; you only pay one monthly fee for everything, which makes OnPay is a great option for smaller companies (500 employees or less) who are budget conscious. 



OnPay charges a base fee of $36, plus $4 per employee per month. You can use the price calculator on their website to see exactly how much it’ll run you for your team size. You can also sign up for a one-month free trial there.

OnPay charges a base fee of $36, plus $4 per employee per month. They also offer a one month free trial.

Best For

OnPay is great for small businesses looking for a payroll solution with basic HR features.

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Our reviewer took screenshot of Bob's HRIS system during the review



Bob, or HiBob, is a really interesting contender in the HRMS space. Their philosophy is to put the employee first, and you can see that in how easy the product is to use. Also, in various ways, this solution engages employees to better understand and cultivate culture. This is a great fit for forward-thinking HR departments that need tools like onboarding, time-tracking, payroll reports, time-off management, surveys, benefits, and much more.



Bob offers custom pricing. They have flexible plans for growing companies and will work with you to offer the best possible cost.

Bob offers custom pricing. They have flexible plans for growing companies and will work with you to offer the best possible cost.

Best For

Bob offers custom pricing. They have flexible plans for growing companies and will work with you to offer the best possible cost.

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Rippling dashboard screenshot - one of the best hris software company



Rippling is a relatively new player in the HR tools market, focusing on helping SMBs manage HR and IT in one solution.

Rippling’s focus is on automation and ease of use. In response to user feedback about problematic UX/UI, Rippling made significant improvements to the design of the web and app-based versions. The new design is a massive improvement and a big hit with our user testers.



Rippling pricing starts at $8 per user per month. Rippling uses a per-employee-per-month pricing subscription model and has monthly base fees for some of its products.

Rippling's Core HR platform starts at $8 per employee per month. Contact Rippling regarding a custom Spend Management quote.

Best For

Rippling works best for small and mid-sized businesses looking to manage HR, IT, and payroll in one place. The HRIS’s average customer size is between 25-150 employees.

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Our reviewer took screenshot of Sapling's HRIS system during the review



Although they started as an HR onboarding platform, Sapling has quickly grown into a remote-first HRIS with an impressive client list. Their full product keeps garnering zealous users and adding up features, currently offering tools like people admin, an intranet, a survey and feedback module, profile templates, and all sorts of integrations. 

One of Sapling’s main strengths is their workflow automation. Their goal is to help People teams improve the employee experience while saving man hours and bringing remote teams together. 



Sapling's pricing varies depending on which modules you'd get. You can start with the People Operations Platform, and then add the Essential and/or Premium modules. The final price will depend on the applicable platform fee, plus a per-user-per-month fee. To give you an idea, the minimum annual fee is $4,000 USD.

Sapling's pricing varies depending on which modules you'd get. You'd start with the People Operations Platform and then add the Essential and/or Premium modules, for instance. The final price will depend on the applicable platform fee, plus a per-user-per-month fee. To give you an idea, the minimum annual fee is $4,000 USD.

Best For

Sapling is aimed primarily at mid-sized organizations (50-2000 employees) distributed internationally.

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Freshteam's (the best and popular HRIS system) screenshot



This product from Freshworks, a business software developer from California, is an all-encompassing talent management solution specifically targeted for growing businesses but useful for all sorts of operations. 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. Their Sprout version is completely free for up to 50 employees.



Freshteam is free for up to 50 employees, it then starts at $1.20 per user plus a $71 platform fee, billed monthly. There are no cancellation fees. 

Freshteam has 4 pricing plans. When billed annually, they cost as follows:

  • Free: This plan is free of charge for up to 50 active employees and is limited to 3 published job postings.
  • Growth: Costing $1 per employee per month + $59 platform fee per month, the Growth plan is ideal for small companies looking to handle their basic HR needs more effectively.
  • Pro: For $2 per employee per month + $99 platform fee per month, the Pro plan comes with several added features to automate workflows and manage HR data. 
  • Enterprise: For $4 per employee per month + $169 platform fee per month, the Enterprise plan is Freshteam’s most premium offering, providing users with access to all features in previous plans with the addition of advanced customizations, reporting, and more.

Best For

All kinds of businesses can benefit from Freshteam, but it’s ideal for teams that want to handle everything from a job posting to leave management in the same place at a competitive price.

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Our reviewer took screenshot of UKG's HRIS software during the review



Focused on core HR management, UKG Pro is still simply one of the most well-known and used HCM suites out there. Their solution has been tested throughout the years and built out to the point where they have modules for just about everything you could imagine: payroll, benefits management, onboarding, time-tracking, and countless other HR functions.



Pricing for UKG Pro is not available on their website. However, it is usually on a per-employee-per-month basis, either billed annually or monthly. You’d need to contact a sales representative for an accurate quote. However, our research has shown that licenses tend to start at $600.00 per year for every 5 users.

Pricing for UKG Pro is not available on their website. However, it is usually on a per-employee-per-month basis, either billed annually or monthly. You’d need to contact a sales representative for an accurate quote. However, our research has shown that licenses tend to start at $600.00 per year for every 5 users.

Best For

UKG Pro is mainly marketed toward companies with more than 100 employees. That being said, their software is used in all kinds of industries. Smaller teams looking for an HCM-based approach to workforce management can also do a lot with the software.

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Our reviewer took screenshot of Sage People HRIS software during the review

Sage People


Sage's HRIS is a customizable core HR suite built on top of Salesforce. Their product covers applicants through alumni and is a great option for companies in the small to medium enterprise range (150 - 5k employees) that have a global presence. They boast a 95% retention rate across their 500 customers, the result of a broad product that also integrates with the rest of Sage's ERP suite.

Sage People


While the pricing for 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.

While the pricing for 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

SMBs with a distributed team, especially those that use Salesforce. Also medium enterprises with a global workforce.

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Our reviewer took screenshot of Namely's HRIS system during the review



Namely has quickly become one of the best HR software solutions for the mid-market (from 50 employees to up to a thousand). Their modern, employee-friendly software sees nearly 80% of employees log in each month. Plus, their software saves their clients an average of 11 hours each week through automation and integrations which provides a strong ROI for overworked HR teams.



Custom pricing is available upon request of a demo. It will vary depending on which package you choose. They start with a basic HR package and then sell extensions or enhanced services for things like payroll solutions and employee benefits.

Custom pricing is available upon request of a demo. It will vary depending on which package you choose. They start with a basic HR package and then sell extensions or enhanced services for things like payroll solutions and employee benefits.

Best For

Mid-sized companies in any industry, but mostly in the United States.

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Our reviewer took screenshot of Zenefits' HRIS platform during the review



Zenefits can take care of HR processes like onboarding, offboarding, benefits, payroll, performance reviews, and more. Their average customer size is just under 50 employees, which means that the user experience is thought out not only for human resources staff, but to be easy and quick enough for managers or executives that need to take care of some HR tasks as well.



Zenefits starts with the Essentials plan at $8 per month per employee. This includes all the Core HR modules, Time & Scheduling, Integrations, and the mobile app. Those features are all included, plus other modules, as the plans go up in price. They also offer independent add-ons like payroll software for free, advisory services at $8 per month per employee, and benefits admin using your own broker at $5 per user per month.

Enterprise pricing is available upon request.

Zenefits starts with the following plans: 

  • Essentials: This plan costs $8 per employee per month and packs all of Zenefits’ core HR features, employee time and scheduling tools, 3rd party integrations, as well as access to Zenefits’ mobile app.
  • Growth: This plan costs $14 per employee per month and includes all of the features under the Essentials plan, plus compensation and performance management tools.
  • Zen: This plan costs $21 per employee per month and includes all of the features under the Growth plan, plus tools and services for employee well-being tracking, employee engagement surveys, as well as access to Zenefits’ People Hub, where employees and admins can communicate and collaborate directly in their HR system of record.

 In addition to the above, Zenefits offers the following add‑ons that can go on top of any of its base plans:

  • Payroll: $6 per employee per month.
  • Advisory services: $8 per employee per month.
  • Benefits administration (with your own broker): $5 per employee per month.

The Essentials plan features ACA compliance. If you have 50 employees, the ACA minimum, it will cost $400 per month at its least expensive. However, if you use your own insurance broker, it's an extra $5 per employee per month. They offer a free two week trial before you have to buy. 

Lastly, for larger businesses looking into Zenefits, Enterprise pricing is available upon request.

Best For

Zenefits is made for small and mid-sized companies. Their mission is "to level the playing field for the other 99.7% — the underserved small businesses that fuel our economy."

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Benefits of a Human Resources Information System

We always like to start with the “why” behind any piece of software. With a new HR software suite (or Human Resources Management System, HRMS or Human Resource Information System, or HRIS), you may think it’s simply table stakes to have a database to keep track of your essential employee information. To some correct extent.

However, we’ve seen that the best HRIS systems offer so much more value than the last generation’s tools, which are simply databases of employees. Here are the key benefits of using best-in-class human resource management software, whether you're a small business or Fortune 500.

  • Save Time with Automation: By automating recurring tasks like benefits, payroll administration, employee onboarding, time tracking, and attendance management, your HRIS helps make tedious HR processes quick, simple, and less prone to error. According to Nucleus research, companies that do use HR automation reported 67% faster new hire onboarding and 90% time savings on admin work

  • Improve the Employee Experience: An HRIS doesn’t just benefit your business and bottom line. It’s also a direct asset for your employees. With a user-friendly employee portal, your employees can navigate benefits options easily, review and update personal information, manage requests for time off, and much more. Employees who feel their employers’ onboarding software is effective are five times more likely to report high levels of engagement

  • Employee Performance: Beyond simply reviewing conduct and achievements, your HR system can actually drive employee performance. Performance reviews, engagement surveys, performance management capabilities, and customizable integrations with other tools can all be used to build culture and turn company values from ideas to action. Statically, 72% of HR generalists engaging in self-service HRIS reported a lighter workload.

  • Increase Compliance: If you are careful with the setup and initial data entry, an HRIS can greatly improve your data accuracy and accessibility. In addition to helping you out in a pinch, data accuracy, and task automation also support compliance year-round. Automation results in fewer human errors, and many vendors do a great job of staying on top of various changes in laws and regulations, keeping you in the loop, and updating their products accordingly.

  • Better Organization: If you’re starting from pencil and paper, using an HRIS eliminates the hassle of sifting through paper files to find employee data. If you've already moved beyond pen and paper or spreadsheets but are using several tools, buying a complete HR suite helps with keeping everything in the same place.

Stacey Richey, one of the experts we talked about for this piece, was facing this problem. Her company, Corvus Insurance, needed an HRIS because all their systems were in different tools. Imagine that: one tool for payroll, one for benefits, one for LMS, one for performance management, etc.

By making a list of the modules she needed in order to replace those products, she and her team's search for an HRIS had a head start. Today, they save tons of hours each month by not having to switch from one app to another, build integrations, or transfer info.

  • Streamline the Hiring Process: Some HRMS’s can also act as a lightweight ATS (and some have a full-fledged ATS built-in). Recruiting features of an HRIS allow you to easily collect resumes, review candidate info, and speed up employee onboarding and training providing new hires with a seamless transition into your company. Custom workflows also help you ensure that no key steps or necessary documents are overlooked in the onboarding process.
  • Business Intelligence: As your business grows, analyzing data metrics becomes increasingly important. By creating custom reports, your HRIS makes it easy for your HR team to analyze hiring costs, calculate turnover, employee engagement, and ultimately use data to help inform business decisions.
  • Workforce Management: The HRMS vendors that are best-in-class HR technology companies will offer tools that help progressive HR departments with human capital management.

For example, you will find employee engagement built right into many new human resource management software, along with intuitive employee onboarding, easy-to-access payroll and benefits, mobile first-time and attendance, and payroll management. All of this is done through a cloud-based offering that updates as new modules roll out.

Pro Tips on Best HRIS Systems

Common Pitfalls for HRIS Software

We always think it can be helpful to learn from what not to do, and with new employee management software, there are many mistakes to be made. Our advice to making sure you don’t fall into many of these mis-steps is to ask the right questions on demos (see our suggested questions below). Here’s where we see people struggle when it comes to getting the right HRIS:

Lack of employee self-service: If your HRIS doesn’t allow employees to update their own personal information or choose their own benefits plans, then it’s not really saving your human resources team time. If you want to see the greatest returns from your system, choose an HRIS that includes employe self-service capabilities.

Inability to integrate with other systems: If you really want to save time with an HRIS, make sure that it integrates with other business apps you use so that your data flows easily from one system to the next. Otherwise, you will end up having to manually enter data into different systems which can ultimately cause more work for your HR team. For example, most HR experts consider that HRIS systems don't do recruiting really well, so they opt for having a stand-alone ATS. Having your HRIS integrate with this ATS should be a top consideration and would help to shortlist 2-5 solutions early in the process. Of course, the same goes for other key tools within your existing, or even future, tech stack.

Lack of data accuracy: Your HRIS is only as good as the data it stores. A system that is full of inaccurate data is essentially useless, so make sure employees tread with caution when entering data and that there is a process that ensures the right information is being entered into the system whether manually or via API from another HR or recruiting solution.

Lack of consideration of application’s limits: A business with 5,000 employees will struggle to be successful with an HRIS built for companies with 100 employees. Thus, when choosing an HRIS, make sure that it meets the needs of your company’s size. If your business is growing fast, you’ll want to be careful to choose an HRIS has the ability to grow with it. Unfortunately sometimes large organizations have to go with incumbent vendors vs the latest and greatest as these startups may not have the needed feature set.

Incorrect or rushed implementation: If you rush the data transfer process when setting up a new HRIS, it’s highly likely that some of the data will be entered incorrectly. If you’re working too fast, it can be easy to input the wrong pay rate or give the wrong manager control over approving time worked. Rushing the implementation process increases the likelihood that you make a mistake that may cause problems down the line.

It’s advisable to get a consultant who has been there, done that when transitioning data from one system to another, or utilizing your new vendor’s team to ensure a smooth transition.

Non-user-friendly platform: An HRIS is only effective at saving your HR team time if employees are actually using it. Non-user-friendly systems will confuse and frustrate employees and will ultimately create more work for the HR team. Make sure your new HRMS vendor has a UI that is easy on the eyes, and an intuitive UX that is mobile friendly.

Insufficient data security: Your HRIS stores loads of sensitive, personal employee information. If your system suffers a data breach, it could cause irreparable damage to your business, so it is of the utmost importance to be cautious and methodical when setting up your system’s security measures. This is most likely a no brainer that will be resolved through your security team’s checklist. Just be weary of vendors that have less than 20 employees listed on LinkedIn.

Insufficient planning: HR teams who have not sufficiently mapped out the process of installing and introducing their HRIS face tremendous struggles in getting their solution off the ground. In order to prevent these issues, your team should create a timeline that outlines each phase of implementation and take care to communicate with the relevant set of employees/managers at each stage of implementation.

Further, your blueprint to get a new HRIS should go beyond implementation. Stacey Richey, who has spearheaded many HRIS implementations in the past, mentioned that one of the biggest mistakes HR teams make is basing their purchasing decision on where they are today instead of where they intend to be. She adds, "think of all the possible changes that your company might experience in the next 5 years and plan for that. You want a system that scales with the company, to make sure that you're not going to switch HRIS for a long time."

New HRIS Internal Stakeholder Management

Whenever you’re buying new software for your business, there are always various internal stakeholders to keep updated as you move through the vendor selection process, and get on board as your start to implement the process. HR Software solution definitely falls into this category as organizational buy in is essential to maximizing the value of the solution. It’s important that you identify these key stakeholders early and understand how to maintain their support for your project throughout the implementation process.

Here’s a brief overview of the various important stakeholders, and advice for managing each:

Company leadership (CEO and rest of C-Suite): If you want your HRIS to have the best chance for success, you’ll need to get buy-in and continuous support from the top leaders at your company. To get leadership on board with your HRIS, present the business case to them and carefully lay out the ROI your new HRIS will drive. Lay out your specific plan for implementation and provide them with a detailed timeline. Throughout the life of the HRIS, provide leaders with updates about how the system is meeting the goals laid out for it and how you plan to stay on track to achieve future goals.

Human Resources: The rest of your HR team is one of the biggest stakeholders involved in the implementation of a new HRIS because a successful solution makes HR functions much easier and a failed solution makes it much, much more difficult.

When choosing an HRIS, make sure your People team agrees on the solution. Also be sure to provide the necessary training for the whole HR department, as they will likely play a significant role in handling employee questions and issues with the system. Be sure to communicate with all members of the human resources team about how a new HRIS will change different employees’ duties, especially with the automation of tasks that we previously performed manually.

Benefits Brokers: Some of the HR professionals we talked to consider it essential to involve benefits brokers into the process. First off, it's important in order to make sure that the HRIS vendors you're considering will carry your benefit carriers unless you want to switch to theirs. This is a major consideration that can also narrow down your search right off the bat, saving time for everyone. Further, some benefit brokers also have an internal HRIS team that you can partner with during the RFP process.

Operations team: Your operations team will be involved in the budgeting, reporting, and ensuring the legal compliance of your HRIS. They may also be involved in communicating with benefits providers and other external partners who may be affected by your new HRIS. Communicating with your operations team is key their continued support of your HRIS solution.

IT teams: Your tech teams will play an important role in helping implement new software and update it so involve them in the decision-making process to ensure that they are comfortable with the technology and any security implications. It may also be helpful to open a channel of communication between the tech vendors and your IT team so if they do run into problems, it becomes easier to solve them. If the system will require a lot of updates, make sure that your tech team is aware and prepared.

All employees: Every employee has a stake in the success or failure of your HRIS. A successful, easy-to-use can make employees’ lives much easier, and vice versa. At the same time, the success of your HRIS is dependent on your employees using it correctly, so be sure to provide the necessary training and communicate about the solution clearly and early. You should listen to your employees feedback at every step of the road and take their complaints and concerns seriously. Be sure to carefully explain the positive ways an HRIS will impact their day-to-day work and focus on specifically how the system will benefit them now and in the future.

HRIS System Pricing

Pricing for the majority of HRIS software is done on a per employee per month basis. The price depends on the breadth of the feature set you’re getting, as well as the size of your organization. Below are some price ranges to keep in mind as you look at various vendors for your HR management.

HR Software Pricing

It’s worth noting that the price ranges per employee per month vary a lot for different solutions. You can find a HRMS that will charge you $2/employee/mo, and solutions that run as high as $30/employee/mo (plus additional fees for payroll and benefits, as well as extra modules for hiring and onboarding).

As many things in life, you get what you pay for in most cases. If you just need to check the box, then obviously going with a cheaper solution makes sense. If you want to use your HRIS to be a tool for increasing employee engagement, retaining employees, and generally driving business value through human capital management - then you’ll have to pay up for one of the better solutions.

Some vendors will also charge ancillary fees in addition to the recurring SaaS cost. Be aware of the various pitfalls here, and realize that for the most part you can negotiate many of these fees much more easily than the recurring per employee per month cost of the cloud-based solution you’re buying:

  • Setup fees
  • Consulting fees
  • Support fees
  • Software fees

We're also crowdsourcing data on HRIS pricing through a survey, to help HR teams better understand their options. It's anonymous, takes only two minutes, and anyone who helps out the community by filling it out will get access to the entire data set.

Key HRIS Features

When you’re looking for a top HRIS system, it’s important to think about what your goals are for this software, and then codify these into an organizer spreadsheet you can use to make notes throughout your vetting process. In addition to the demo questions we have below, it’s worth thinking through some of the key features for your new system. Here are a few that you’ll want to have in mind as you start demo’ing some of the vendors in this space:

Employee Self-service portal: Keeping employee information up to date can be a lot of work for your HR department. The self-service function of many human resource management tools help eliminate this challenge by empowering employees to view and edit their own profile, benefits, time off and more. It’s worth taking the product for a spin as an employee to make sure they can easily access benefits, PTO, etc.

Time and Attendance Management: An HRIS simplifies the process of tracking time-off as well as planned and unplanned absences due to sickness, injury, maternity leave, or unauthorized leave.

Onboarding Capability: While onboarding typically involves a lot of paperwork, with an HRIS, employees can complete much of the onboarding process electronically including open enrollment. Some HRIS’s even have electronic signature functionality which allows employees to sign scanned documents that can be stored right in the system.

Custom Reporting: As HR becomes increasingly reliant on data and trends, it’s important to have a system that can create analytics reports to help improve business decisions. A powerful reporting system takes the manual labor out of preparing reports and can help you gain valuable insights about your business.

Learning Management: A learning management system may be part of your HR software suite. However, it's much more likely that this is a standalone solution that simply integrates with your HR system so that employees can get the right educational materials during employee onboarding, and throughout the employee lifecycle.

Employee Database: The employee database of an HRIS allows you to store all employee records and information in a centralized location. The data is searchable, making it easy to find details on employee salary and position, performance appraisal histories, disciplinary histories, training records, and more.

Recruiting functions: Many HR solutions allow you to post new roles to job boards, manage interviews, store resumes, and transfer information when a new candidate is hired. While not all HRIS’s have their own recruiting and applicant tracking functions, they should at least be able to integrate with your current applicant tracking system (ATS) so that you can transfer new-hire information to your system quickly and smoothly.

Training and Development Management: Tracking employee training is important, particularly if you are in an industry where employees require certain certifications or licensing. An HRMS allows you to see what training employees may need or want and helps you stay up to date on any required recertifications.

Central Storage for Company Documents : Serving as a centralized location for any information your employees might need, your HRIS should be a place where employees can find employee handbooks, emergency evacuation procedures, and safety guidelines.

Benefits Administration: Your HRIS should enable employees to enroll in health insurance, manage their 401k, and track their benefits information. Many HRIS offerings also have payroll solutions so that when an employee updates their benefits information, that information is automatically updated in the payroll system and you can ensure that paychecks are correct. However, many times payroll is an additional charge that your hr department needs to be aware of.

Compensation management: To reduce the risk of error when handling employee compensation, HRIS’s often offer payroll and compensation management functions. This allows you to handle many forms of compensation including salaries, paid time off, overtime pay, and bonus programs automatically. This will streamline a lot of your HR processes.

Questions for HRIS Software Demos

When you start demo’ing various HR management software, it’s important to prepare questions that get at the cored needs your organization has from a functionality standpoint, as well as the various items internal stakeholders will care about (security, data migration, self-service portals, etc). Here are questions we think HR and People teams should have in their back pocket to make sure they have covered all their bases.

  • How will information be exchanged with carriers (for benefits)?
  • How can we put important data into this system? (API, Excel spreadsheets, documents, other databases, and paper documents)
  • Does it accommodate benefits carriers’ rules?
  • Does it integrate with ATS/payroll system/any other systems you might have that impact workforce management?
  • What built in security measures does it contain?
  • Does this solution have SSO capabilities?
  • Are there multiple authorization levels for different types of users?
  • Is there a maximum number of employees it will support across the workforce?
  • What types of reporting capabilities does it have?
  • Does it include features to help HR communicate with employees (i.e. mass emails, filtering messages by criteria)?
  • How much technical training will be required?
  • What kinds of technical support are provided?
  • What recruiting capabilities are built in?
  • What hr processes will be automated?

As Richey points out, "demoing software can be painful, but it pays to go into the weeds for every single module." When approaching a demo Stacey likes to get a feel for what every workflow will feel like for her employees, to make sure they're getting a tool that makes their lives at work easier. Often, this also involves testing out the software after the demo.

What type of companies should buy an HRIS and why

While very small companies may be able to handle all of their employee information just in spreadsheets, an HRIS can benefit any company and becomes increasingly important as your business grows. If you’re still not sure if an HRIS is right for your business, here are some key signs that you should definitely be thinking about implementing one:

You have more than 25 employees:

While 25 employees is not a rigid threshold, it is a good place to start thinking about using an HRIS for your core HR management. With much more than 25 employees, keeping track of employee data becomes a chore, and at a certain point, it becomes impractical to enter and update all employee data manually.

Many of your jobs require licensing or certification: If you are in an industry where employees legally require up-to-date certifications, it’s important to stay on top of when employees need to be re-certified. An HRIS can play an important role in reminding you when employee certifications will expire to ensure that all of your employees’ are compliant and your business continues operating smoothly. This is one HR process it makes sense to automate.

You’re growing fast: As companies grow and pass different size thresholds, they face changing legal requirements. Keeping up with the legal requirements of a growing company is much easier to do automatically with an HRIS rather than by hand in spreadsheets.

You want your HR team to play a more strategic role: Having one easily searchable system that stores employee information, runs payroll, and handles benefits saves a lot of time for your HR team. This allows them to focus on more strategic projects for your business such as increasing employee retention or improving company culture.

You manage hourly employees: With hourly employees, you often have to track hours and manage changing schedules. Keeping track of all this information becomes much easier with a best in class HR tool.

You need custom data reports: As businesses become increasingly data driven, data-based reporting about the life of your company becomes more and more important. Many HRIS solutions have features that easily create custom reports for you so you can get a better idea of the health of your company.

FAQs about HRIS Systems

What is an HRIS?

An HRIS is an employee management platform that allows HR teams to store employee records as well as interface with payroll systems, performance reviews, and the other core HR functions.

What does HRIS stand for?

HRIS stands for Human Resource Information System.

What are the benefits of having a top HRIS system?

A top HRIS can help your team in many ways:

  • Compliantly maintain employee records
  • Streamline employee onboarding
  • Help run payroll each cycle
  • Keep track of and automate employee reviews
  • Plan future hiring
  • Facilitate performance reviews
  • 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.

What are some key features of an HRIS?

There are many key features of HRIS systems, 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
  • Compensation management

What are common mistakes companies make when buying HRIS software?

Danielle points out three. “Oftentimes leaders will fail to engage the end user of the product during the sales process which leads to a mismatch between the business need and the system's capabilities. For example: the system may not integrate well with payroll, benefits, or HR processes. Additionally, the HRIS system may not be compatible with other software already in use. Lastly, it's a mistake to prioritize getting a bargain over quality. As with most things, you get what you pay for and you want a system that will serve the organization's needs over time.”

Best Practices HR teams should keep in mind for a new HRIS + Final Advice

It’s easy to get tripped up by the various pitfalls when adding a HRIS to your HR software stack. Here are some best practices to help you make sure the process of implementing this new technology is successful:

Fully commit: In order to take full advantage of the services your HRIS offers, spend time fully understanding all of its features and how to use them. Get your data migrated into your new system quickly and put in the time to get used to the new processes. If you go all in, you will be able to reap the most value from your HRIS.

Decide on an implementation team: Before you choose an HRIS, you should decide on a team who will take full responsibility for the roll out process of the product. This team should be in charge of communicating the new HRIS to employees as well as providing employees with any necessary training and support. Members of the team should be experts from different areas of the company and should take full ownership of the implementation process.

Concentrate on adoption: If people at your company aren’t using your HRIS, then its value is drastically decreased. To prevent poor adoption, make sure that employees are aware of the new technology before you roll it out. It’s also essential to select a user-friendly HRIS and provide the necessary training so all employees, from new hires to executives, feel comfortable using the technology. A pro tip here is to get one leader from each functional area to communicate the new system is coming, and the core benefits to employees of using the new system.

Don’t be afraid to seek support from the vendor: Be careful to choose a vendor who cares about your success with the product and will be ready to assist if you run into any big issues. It’s unrealistic to fully rely on the vendor to fix all your issues, but don’t be afraid to ask for assistance - they should be happy to give it to you if they care about their success as a business. Understand in detail the support that will be offered, and get SLAs in place if you can.

Be able to adapt: Being adaptable is always important for an HR team, but especially when it comes to implementing an HRIS. If the roll-out is lacking energy or employees are responding negatively to the system, you need to be ready to change your approach to set your HRIS program up for success.

Final Advice

Hopefully the information laid out here is useful as you start to think about which HR software vendors to contact for demos, what questions you want to have answered, and which internal stakeholders need to be engaged to ensure a successful implementation of a new HRIS. Our advice is to select two to four vendors and get on the phone to start seeing what these solutions can do, and how your timeline should be structured for this initiative. Good luck!‍

If you're looking for more specialized types of HR Software, check out our roundup of the best employee onboarding software or the top intranet platforms.

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