Best HR Software (HRIS) - August 2021

Best HRIS Software Vendors, Benefits, Pitfalls, Implementation Best Practices, 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 20, 2021

Are you looking for best-in-class HRIS software to help your team streamline employee onboarding, payroll, workforce management, etc? Whatever the case, this guide will allow you to identify the best HR software vendors, questions to ask on demos, how to manage internal stakeholders, and so much more.

We originally wrote this overview of the best HR software two years ago and have continually updated it with the latest information to help you automate your employee management. We hope this shortlist of vendors helps, along with our advice on HCM software pitfalls, pricing, features, questions to ask on demos, etc. Good luck!

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 HRIS Systems

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.
Rippling is an employee management platform for everything between onboarding and offboarding, with a soothing design and great user experience.
Freshteam is an HR suite that’s already used by over 3,000 customers, well-regarded by small, mid-sized, and big companies alike.
Bob is a global platform that can streamline pretty much everything an HR department needs to do, in a highly customizable manner.
The folks at ClearCompany are quick to create and launch new products depending on what their clients need, like COVID-19 resources during the pandemic or a voting incentive feature during the 2020 US election.
OnPay is very quick to set up and is quite affordable for a solution that combines payroll, HR, and benefits.
Sage People has built an end-to-end cloud solution to manage HR and People for global workforces.
Namely is an all-in-one HR platform designed to be used by everyone and made for mid-sized companies specifically in mind.
BambooHR is one of the top names in HR software. They have won numerous awards for customer support, ease of use, good value, and much more.
As a merger from 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.
As one of the HR software companies with the richest history, ADP has a massive product offering and tons of expertise that could help any kind of business.
Zenefits is a widely-known product for its ease-of-use and modern-looking UI. It's designed for SMBs and offers real competitive prices.
Factorial is a solid SaaS that’s devoted to solving the daily challenges of HR teams while placing a strong emphasis on data security.

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Top HRIS Systems

We track thousands of HR tech solutions, these are the best HRIS systems per our research and expert council as of August 2021. For more HR Software, take a look at our roundup of the best HRMS software.

Sapling

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

Stats

  • Their research suggests that they're able to save clients 10 hours of work per new hire.
  • They also estimate that their integrations can save 5 hours of work per week for People Ops teams.
  • Working with InVision, they were pivotal in helping the company scale remotely from 100 to 1000 employees.

Sapling

Pricing:

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.

Best For

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

Worth Checking Out:

Rippling

Review

Rippling is another new player in the HR tools market, with a focus on helping SMBs manage HR and IT in 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 that will interact with the product. The tech is exactly what you’d expect from a silicon valley-based startup, with a great UI and eye-catching design. 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

Rippling

Pricing:

Starts at $8 per month per user, 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

Rippling is built to work for businesses with 1 employee as much as companies with thousands of them. Their focus is on automation and ease of use while always keeping a modern feel to everything.

Worth Checking Out:

Freshteam

Review

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

Stats

Freshteam

Pricing:

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. 

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.

Worth Checking Out:

Bob

Review

Bob, or HiBob, is a really interesting new entrant to this market (that already has customers like Monday.com and eToro). 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

Stats

  • Unlimited customizable flows 
  • Over 13 modules 
  • Four packages to cover most needs 
  • 44 reviews with a 4.6/5 average 
  • Founded in 2016

Bob

Pricing:

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.

Worth Checking Out:

ClearCompany

Review

ClearCompany is another HRMS company that goes across the entire employee lifecycle from recruiting and applicant tracking through performance. They’re a great solution for SMBs looking for a talent management solution with very good customer service. One noteworthy thing about ClearCompany is a feature in their ATS that identifies and sources the best available talent for your company based on its top performers.

ClearCompany

Stats

  • 99% retention rate
  • 640,000 total users
  • 96% employee approval rating 
  • 2,000+ customers
  • In business for 15 years

ClearCompany

Pricing:

Custom subscription-based pricing is available upon request of a demo or free trial. No credit card is required for the free trial. 

Best For

Clients in every industry and all sorts of company sizes.

Worth Checking Out:

OnPay

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

Stats

  • 30 years of payroll experience
  • 98% of their clients recommend them
  • Benefits and HR in all 50 states of the US
  • Processes over $2 Billion in payroll annually

OnPay

Pricing:

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.

Best For

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

Worth Checking Out:

Sage People

Review

Sage's HRIS is a customizable core HR suite built on top of Salesforce. Their product covers applicant 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

Stats

  • 400k+ users
  • Presence in over 150 countries
  • #1 multinational HR and People management system on Salesforce

Sage People

Pricing

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.

Worth Checking Out:

BambooHR

Review

BambooHR tries to accommodate one or another version 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 offer a separate HRIS and a small business package. If that wasn’t enough, they 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.

BambooHR

Stats

  • 30,000 onboards per month
  • Over 18,000 active client organizations
  • 1.7 million employees active on their system as of October 2020

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:

ADP

Review

ADP is one of the giants in this space. They’ve been in the payroll processing business since it was done manually 70 years ago. Now, their product offering has tools for 2 person companies up through the largest organizations in the world. From PEOs and payroll management to HRIS, ADP basically has it all. Our only caution here is to make sure you are looking at relevant point solutions outside of ADP’s core HCM suite. It’s worth pointing out that some of their modules just don’t stand up to purpose-built recruiting and engagement solutions.

ADP

Stats

  • 1200+ reviews on the web with an average of 4.4 stars out of 5
  • Named among Fortune World’s Most Admired Companies for 14 consecutive years
  • 4-time winner of the Human Resource Executive Top HR product award

ADP

Pricing

Custom pricing is available upon request of a demo for each specific product.

Best For

Virtually any company could benefit from ADP’s vast product offering, the only question is if their design will be compatible with your company’s culture and management style.

Worth Checking Out:

Zenefits

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

Stats

  • They claim that their customers can save up to a full week of work from using their tool. 
  • Their customers also spend up to 90% less time on payroll and benefits after moving to their platform. 
  • Many Zenefits customers spend 50% less time onboarding new employees.

Zenefits

Pricing

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.

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."

Worth Checking Out:

Namely

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.

Namely

Stats

  • 75% of their customers say that Namely has increased employee engagement for them. 
  • 72% say that the platform has made them more productive. 
  • They claim that their average clients save about 11 hours per week using Namely.

Namely

Pricing

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.

Worth Checking Out:

Factorial HR

Review

Factorial is a great HR software solution for small and medium-sized businesses. Their offering gives human resources teams their time back through managing employee onboarding, time tracking, PTO, org charts, payroll, talent acquisition, and much more. We also like that they place a good deal of importance on data security. With Factorial, all database information is encrypted and GDPR-compliant. They also use a Single Sign-On system and regularly perform vulnerability diagnostics.

Factorial HR

Stats

  • Used by over 60,000 companies

Factorial HR

Pricing

The Factorial HR platform starts at $40/mo for up to 10 employees. After that, it’s $4 per additional user. There is a 14-day free trial and custom enterprise pricing is available for bigger teams.

Best For

Small and medium-sized businesses with many HR processes to streamline. It's specially suitable for organizations with a remote workforce and operations in Europe, the US, or Latin America.

Worth Checking Out:

UKG

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.

UKG

Stats

  • 96% customer retention rate
  • Average $3.88 return on each dollar invested

UKG

Pricing

UKG does not reveal the price of UKG Pro on its website, although research has shown that licenses tend to start at $600.00 per year for every 5 users.

Best For

UKG Pro is mainly marketed towards companies with more than 100 employees. That being said, their software is used in all kinds of industries.

Worth Checking Out:

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Best Practices for HR Software

It’s easy to get tripped up by the various pitfalls when adding an HRMS 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 2-4 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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