The 20 Best HR Software Programs on the Market

Maria Chambi
Maria Chambi

HR and Finance Expert

Reviewed by Chris Leitch

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With technology evolving at such a rapid pace, businesses must adopt the latest processes and resources in order to stay afloat – and ahead. Nowhere is this more evident than in human resources, where companies select, hire and manage their most precious commodity: people.

With so many HR software programs to choose from, however, and everybody claiming to be the top player in the market, it can be difficult to select the right management system. As such, we’ve compiled a handy list of the top HR software programs to help you in your decisions.

So, whether you’re a brand-new startup or a well-established enterprise, here we bring you some of the most popular HR software in the world.

1. People HR

Focused on simplicity, People HR automates the majority of day-to-day HR functions, allowing management to fine-tune only what is important. This is supported by a wide range of optional extras that make for a more customised experience.

This complete HR system enables you to manage your employees, edit company documents, track absences, authorise holidays, generate instant reports and much more, all from the convenience of any device.

People HR is designed for small to medium businesses, though large enterprises can also benefit from its features. This software is hailed for its wide array of features, ease of use, stable functionalities and value for money. It offers a free trial, with prices depending on the specific pricing plan you select.

2. BambooHR

A winner of several industry awards, the beauty of BambooHR lies in the more subtle touches, such as the timesaving e-signature function and a redesigned onboarding system. As well as offering the standard human capital and human resources management features, BambooHR also provides neat add-ons, such as a streamlined employee appraisal tool that makes a potentially time-consuming task far easier.

Designed for small and medium businesses, everything is clearly laid out and easy to use, no matter which device you use it from.

BambooHR gives you the time and insights to create a workplace culture that thrives. Managers can do performance assessments, leave comments on goals and record notes on employee records. It also helps you find and create great employees so you don’t miss out on top candidates.

3. Freshteam

Freshteam is super smart HR software that covers every blade of grass on the hiring field. From encouraging engagement with candidates to allowing closer collaboration with those in charge of making recruitment decisions, FreshTeam has it all.

With more than 3,000 businesses using Freshteam, it’s clear to see why it’s so popular. It helps businesses to intuitively streamline and automate HR processes and boasts a handy applicant database feature for future hiring decisions. What’s more, it features data analytics tools to ensure you secure the right candidate.

While Freshteam is considered good value for money for larger businesses, some small businesses feel the cost is too high.

4. Gusto

Gusto brings payroll, benefits and HR into one convenient package. It aims to do this by keeping the whole process in sync. As a result, Gusto is ideal for small businesses who want to track everything easily.

This user-friendly software interface will appeal to those who want to keep things simple. It features customisable onboarding checklists, easy payroll processing, flexibility when selecting health benefits, pay contractors, and much more. You can also manage various benefits, time off and holidays, so it’s like having your own personal HR department in your pocket.

5. CakeHR  

With its clean web and mobile interface, CakeHR is designed to help SMEs stay more organised and increase management efficiency. Through their own self-service access, employees can enter their accounts to update their personal information, check their balances, request time off and view who is out of the office.

Management can easily assign new tasks for employees, loan out company assets (such as mobile phones and laptops) and centralise company documents with security and privacy. In addition to carrying out administrative tasks, you can also perform 360-degree reviews, schedule one-to-one meetings, track company goals and create onboarding/exit surveys. The entire employee lifecycle is tracked and maintained from the convenience of one platform.

6. Zoho People

Zoho People is responsible for the development of a number of active software programs, and their latest HRM offering covers a variety of standard functions from a centralised location. What sets Zoho People apart from similar systems, though, is the ability to align everything with other Zoho tools, which is especially handy if your business is already using them.

Zoho People’s customisable dashboard offers quick access to a variety of actions for an efficient user experience. It also features a flexible pricing structure and many integrations, including onboarding, payroll, data view and reports. Unfortunately, it requires a lot of customisation to get started, while the depth of their functionality could become more limited as your demands increase.

7. Manatal

With its easy-to-use, fun interface and excellent technical support team, Manatal is considered an innovative software that comes with a range of features and functionalities, including integration to job portals and other software.

It supports candidate sourcing and internal collaboration and requires minimal orientation. It also covers every stage of the recruitment process, including automated job posting, as well as the ability to invite hiring managers to participate in the hiring process.

8. OnPay

As the name suggests, OnPay is a payroll resource that is targeted specifically at startups and smaller-sized businesses. Key features include automated tax filings and payments that the firm guarantees will be made on time and in compliance with legislation.

OnPay also boasts 30 years of experience as a payroll provider, which can offer new entrepreneurs good peace of mind. If you possess zero payroll knowledge, this is a great tool that allows you to focus on what truly matters in order for your business to thrive. It has a professional-looking UI, plenty of HR functions and a fantastic support team. The biggest downside is the lack of a mobile app, which would be a great timesaver for small businesses.

9. BizMerlinHR

On the surface, BizMerlinHR is another all-encompassing management tool that offers a variety of HR solutions. Instead of building everything themselves, though, they’ve secured key partnerships to integrate the likes of Jira, QuickBooks and Salesforce into their software, allowing for a far greater degree of choice and flexibility.

BizMerlinHR is also operated completely via the cloud, meaning you can access it anywhere, anytime. This is a highly valued piece of software with outstanding reviews across the internet.

10. Zenefits

Zenefits is an HCM software resource that also collaborates heavily with other businesses, allowing you to cherry-pick the services of hundreds of providers through an easy-to-use interface. The idea is that you can build an HR capability that is completely tailored to your own needs while having access to it through a variety of apps and integrations.

While Zenefits is considered affordable, some users feel the payroll process is not user-friendly, while the customer support team could be more responsive.


11. Namely

Namely is another software provider that markets itself as an all-in-one HR platform. It’s keen to distance itself from other, more automated, platforms and instead emphasises its ability to allow HR departments to exercise complete control over their people management strategy.

That said, it’s also designed for employees who can easily access the many features available, including company updates. Employees can also update their personal information, which directly links to payroll, while management can post company-wide goals and track performance with robust analytics and reporting features.

12. iCIMS

iCIMS is an AI-driven platform that aims to ensure businesses are getting their talent acquisition processes right through its leading Talent Cloud. They offer a range of solutions in applicant tracking and onboarding, as well as a candidate relationship management tool that enables recruiters to better engage with potential employees.

Many of the world’s leading brands use iCIMS to help them build teams that align with their mission and achieve outstanding results. Their support team is super helpful, while the system is very intuitive and highly configurable.

13. ClearCompany

ClearCompany is a talent management and acquisition resource that is concerned with enabling companies to improve their hiring practices and, particularly, their retention. It does this by merging the hiring, onboarding and performance tracking of an employee into one streamlined process, using what it describes as the ‘only HR software powered by a core Talent Operating System’.

ClearCompany consistently delivers quality product support and high-quality customer service. It has many excellent functions that don’t require in-depth technical knowledge, including automated reporting and onboarding solutions.

14. ADP Workforce Now

Aimed at mid-sized businesses, ADP Workforce Now is a cloud-based HRM tool that focuses on reducing time-consuming, repetitive tasks. It offers all the standard HR functions you would expect from an all-in-one software, as well as integrating some neat features – especially for teams.

Enabling remote workers to sign in on their phone rather than submitting weekly timecards is a particularly nice touch. What’s more, they offer seamless payroll processing and remain afloat of the latest payroll regulations, making your job simpler and stress-free.

15. Sage Business Cloud People

Sage produces a huge range of business management products and resources, but it’s the cloud-based People software that represents their HCM offering. Aimed specifically at mid-sized organisations that are attempting to scale, it encompasses every aspect of the human resources information system and is built upon the powerful Salesforce Cloud app.

16. Kronos

Priding itself on the speed and ease with which it can be implemented into an already up-and-running business, Kronos is a multipurpose HCM tool that encompasses payroll, time management and talent management. It is also flexible to employee diversity and is easy to use for both employers and employees.

Kronos offers two suites (Workforce Dimensions and Workforce Ready) in order to organise and prioritise your company’s HR needs. This industry-leading HCM solution enables organisations to manage and engage their workforces at every stage of the employee lifecycle.

17. Deputy

With a highly reasonable price structure and an albeit limited collaboration capability with external providers, Deputy is one of the more trusted HR software tools on the market. It’s keen to simplify the whole process, preferring a visually compelling and intuitive user face over complex spreadsheets and timesheets.

Deputy also offers some handy features, such as a company newsfeed and the ability to receive updates when assigned tasks are completed. Their around-the-clock online help is good, and they offer an easy way to track time and staffing posts.

18. Trakstar

Trakstar is a cloud-based HRM solution designed primarily for performance reviews and employee evaluation – handy for businesses who like to constantly give their personnel feedback. This includes the option to provide real-time commentary on a worker’s performance, as well as a neat SMART goals package that enables individual targets to be aligned with wider strategic objectives.

They also offer secure succession planning, enabling you to plan for your company’s future by developing your top talent. Finally, their customer support team is consistent and timely.

19. OpenElevator

Focusing heavily on the capability of data to affect both recruitment and retention, OpenElevator actively targets companies that are disengaged with their employees, promising to deliver tools that can help rectify this discord.

OpenElevator features a sophisticated algorithm at the heart of its software that determines the unique interpersonal and technical traits that are important to your business. This in turn can optimise hiring processes, create a more satisfied and productive workforce, and ultimately boost your bottom line.

20. APS Payroll

Last but not least, we have APS Payroll, which is another payroll software tool that provides businesses with a comprehensive service, not just for managers but for employees, too. It offers a wide range of standard functions, including event tracking, performance reviews and benefit carrier connections.

APS Payroll also delves deep into the data side of things, with the ability to produce over 80 types of report, including EEO1, OSHA and Employee Turnover. It also has a dedicated, highly responsive customer support team, a user-friendly system, and full integration of all features from one platform.

Finding the right HR software program for your business is key to its success. These 20 recommendations are a good place to start – but it’s important to choose a software that fits your needs and budget.

Do you use any of these programs for your HR efforts, or would like to suggest another program that didn’t make the list? Let us know in the comments section below!

This article is an updated version of an earlier article originally published on 14 May 2018 and was written in collaboration with Siôn Phillpott.