14 Best Free HR Software for Startups

If you are a startup or a small business looking to get human resources software, then you may already know: There are so many options to choose from!

Now, the sheer number of available options is, in itself, a double-edged sword. How so? Well, too many options mean it can be pretty hard and confusing to choose the right HR software for your startup.

However, it also means there is plenty of free HR software for startups to choose from.

Cost is critical for any business, not only small businesses and startups. So we will take a look at some of the best free HR software for startups and small businesses in this article.

Now that we know what you’re looking for in Human Resources Software, let’s look at the top choices for startups.

Best Free Human Resources Software Solutions for Startups

  • Breezy HR
  • Gusto 
  • Bitrix24 
  • Cezanne HR
  • Paychex
  • ADP Workforce Now
  • Zenefits
  • Freshteam
  • OrangeHRM
  • Zoho People 
  • ICE HRM 
  • BambooHR
  • OnPay
  • Manatal

With that in mind, let’s dive into our list of the best HR software for startups.

Breezy HR

Breezy HR

Breezy is a visual recruiting and applicant tracking system that helps businesses improve their hiring process. Their drag-n-drop interface & automation features make it easier to focus on suitable candidates.

It helps you advertise your open jobs on over 50 job boards with a single click.

Breezy offers integrations with Google Apps and Microsoft Office 395 for email and calendar.

Breezy’s iOS and Android apps let real-time conversations flow, notify the team about relevant events.

Features:

  • Assessment Management
  • Activity Tracking
  • Customizable Reports
  • Data Import/Export
  • Employee Database
  • Employee Management
  • Real-Time Reporting
  • Recruitment Management

Pricing:

  • FREE – 1 active position, one active candidate pool
  • Startup: $143 per month, billed annually or $171 billed monthly
  • Business: $399 per month, billed annually or $479 billed monthly

*All paid plans include free trial, unlimited users, candidates, and customer support.

Gusto

Gusto HR software

Gusto is an HR software that can simplify your business’s complex HR operations. It offers a centralized platform that enables users to manage benefits administration, payroll, and workforce compliance.

The HR software solution helps businesses go paperless by moving all their paperwork to the digital platform. Businesses can store their documents, forms, and employee data – all in one central location.

The employee directory allows the HR team to streamline tracking and manage time-off requests. You will also easily create a vacation and sick policy and store them where all your employees can easily access them.

Gusto offers plenty of features that you will need to pay for with other HR payroll services, such as W-2s, 1099s, automated tax filings, pay schedules, expedited payrolls, and multiple states. Even better, it doesn’t limit you to a certain number of payrolls, and you get unlimited payrolls.

Gusto is the best HR software for small businesses and startups.

What do you get for free?

  • Vacation and sick policies
  • Employee directory
  • Electronic Signature
  • Org Chart
  • Digital forms, including W-4s and 1099s
  • Automated balances tracking
  • Online time-off requests by employees
  • New hire self onboarding

Cons

Retrieving basic information (for employees) can be, at times, quite complicated, and a slack integration could step up the solution’s game. The reporting options could also use some depth, and some employers complained about having few options for 401Ks.

Bitrix24

Bitrix24

Bitrix24 is a cloud-based collaboration and project management software solution that helps with all your HR-related tasks. In addition, it offers 25 free HR tools that can give you all the HR features and functions you need.

The solution is top-rated HR software among small businesses and is currently used by over 2,500 HR departments, staffing agencies, and recruiters.

Like an HR system, Bitrix24 offers features such as a private social network, document management, employee portal, shared calendars, leave requests, and employee workload planning. The solution also offers plenty of project management features.

It also offers some advanced features, such as appreciation badges, which can help companies give employee management a boost when needed.

Bitrix24 is a project management software that doubles as HR software. Still, if you are looking for something more specialized in project management, we highly recommend looking at the best project management software for startups.

What do you get for free?

  • Employee directory
  • Calendars
  • Time off & leave management.
  • Document management
  • Time Management
  • Activity stream
  • Recruiting
  • Permissions
  • Company-wide announcements
  • Work reports
  • Performance Reviews
  • Collaboration
  • Company structure
  • API

Cons

Unfortunately, the free version has some limitations, which you will run into more quickly than expected. You are only limited to 12 users and 5 gigabytes of online storage.

It’s also quite strange that managing employee absence, a feature that is considered essential for any human resources management system is not included in the free plan.

You also don’t get access to customer support. You also can’t brand the system with your company logo, which is not essential unless branding matters to you.

Cezanne HR

cezanne-hr-software

Cezanne HR is one of the best HR software solutions for international teams or teams with global operations. That’s mainly thanks to the solution’s capability of dealing with international regulations and local laws in different countries. They also offer multi-language and multi-currency support.

The solution is a modular system that allows users to pick and choose precisely what the business needs and nothing else. In addition, Cezanne offers tools for performance reviews, recruitment, people management, Payroll, and more.

Cezanne is a more comprehensive solution than other options on this list. It offers some advanced modules such as the career and succession module that allows users to strategically plan for their future needs, map key roles, identify potential successors, and so on.

Cezanne provides workforce analytics tools and complementary solutions for payroll. In addition, the platform is accessible to employees and HR managers through a native mobile app for Android and iOS devices.

Cons

Cezanne is a comprehensive, fully-featured solution, but this comes at the price of complexity here. It requires a bit of experience to get used to it and has a steep learning curve that will not fit everyone’s liking. In addition, the system is only available on the cloud, which means you’ll have to have an internet connection to access the platform.

Cezanne Pricing

Cezanne HR doesn’t have clear pricing plans, but instead of enduring the negotiations with a salesperson, you can get a quote using their online quote calculator.

Paychex

Paychex

Paychex is a complete HCM suite that combines Payroll, HR, and benefits management in a single package.

It is well-suited for businesses of all sizes. It manages tasks such as HR, time and attendance, Payroll and taxes, insurance, employee benefits, 401(k) retirement plans, and accounting and finance.

Paychex has dedicated Care Act solutions that take action on complex health rules and regulations.

Paychex can automate applicant tracking and expenses management, making more convenient and efficient recruiting and expense processes.

The solution is flexible and scalable, which means you can keep using it as your business keeps growing without having to worry about making a move to another solution.

Paychex Pricing

Paychex doesn’t have a FREE plan; however, they offer a 1-month free trial. After that, their pricing plan starts at $39/month + $5 per employee.

Features

  • Online payroll
  • Payroll tax administration
  • Track time and attendance
  • New-hire reporting
  • General ledger report
  • Accounting software integration
  • Workers’ compensation insurance
  • Standard analytics and reporting
  • Entirely U.S.-based customer service
  • Automatic W-2s and 1099s
  • HR and business forms
  • Labor compliance poster kit
  • Electronically deposit payroll funds into employees’ accounts
  • Additional employee pay options

ADP Workforce Now

ADP

ADP Workforce Now is a well-known, web-based HR software made for small and midsized businesses.

ADP helps businesses automate all their HR and Payroll processes using a single dashboard.

From the dashboard, you will manage employee payroll, time and attendance, and benefits.

Some features include bonuses, time and attendance, employee health insurance statistics, benefits, and talent management.

You will also be able to generate insightful reports from this dashboard.

ADP Workforce Now comes with a benefit plan creation wizard that you can configure to meet the policies and processes of your business.

You can get three months FREE for small businesses and startups when you sign up for small business payroll processing.

Features

  • Benefits administration features
  • Real-time analytics
  • Human resources management functionalities such as recruiting, engaging, retaining, and promoting your employees.
  • Direct deposit
  • General ledger interface
  • New-hire reporting
  • W-2s and 1099s
  • Tax filing
  • Payroll delivery

Cons

ADP only offers performance management and employee engagement tools in its plans reserved for companies with 50+ employees.

Zenefits

Zenefits HR

Zenefits is an online HR software solution to help startups and small-to-midsized businesses with their HR and payroll needs.

Zenefits offers an employee directory, business intelligence, insurance benefits management, and payroll processing.

The solution gives businesses the ability to manage all their HR-related processes from a single interface. It also offers employees the ability to access the system to control all their HR records.

Zenefits also works hard to keep your managers updated with employee tax and earnings, deductions, and more. With Zenefits, you will also not have to worry about ACA compliance, and the mobile app and PTO tracks add a new layer of functionality to the solution.

Zenefits’ features include personnel management, onboarding, and offboarding. In addition, Zenefits can smoothly integrate with your already-existing infrastructure and the apps and systems you are already using.

Zenefits is the best HR software for hiring and recruiting.

What do you get for free?

  • Hiring
  • Onboarding
  • Offboarding
  • Personnel Management
  • Employee directory

Cons

Zenefits, as a standalone app, doesn’t offer much. The app’s free version is functional but pretty barebones, especially compared to some of its direct competitors on this list. Zenefits could greatly benefit from adding features – such as performance management – to their free version.

If you’re looking for payroll, you should better look elsewhere, such as these free and open-source payroll software.

Freshteam

Freshteam HR Software

If you want a human resources platform that will actively increase employee productivity, then Freshteam should be on the top of your list.

The solution offers plenty of features that allow you to manage all of your HR processes. These features include applicant tracking, CRM (customer relationship management), employee recruitment, and more.

Freshteam gives its users complete control over the hiring process, and it does so without sacrificing the quality of candidates.

The solution also offers referral management and basic team collaboration. Another bonus that comes with Freshteam is email application management. All of these features help to make Freshteam your go-to system for tracking and recruitment as you get all the functionalities you need in a single platform.

Freshteam offers integrations with many third-party apps and services such as Facebook, Google Calendar, Freshsales, and Freshdesk.

What do you get for free?

  • Email Application Management
  • Job Embeds
  • Basic career site
  • Team collaboration
  • Referral management
  • Management of job posting

Cons

Unfortunately, the free version limits you to only five users. The solution is also lacking in voice communications as it doesn’t offer any VOIP or telephony capabilities. Users have also complained that their mobile application needs some work.

OrangeHRM

OrangeHRM is a user-friendly, cloud-based resource management and HR tool suitable for businesses of all sizes and fields. The solution is used by more than 3.5 million users worldwide, thanks to its cost and the offered features.

This is an open-source solution, and it comes with all the benefits you expect. You can learn all about why Open Source Software is good for small businesses here.

OrangeHRM does offer paid plans, but the solution is free as you can get almost all the features you want at zero cost. OrangeHRM’s features include benefits and leave management, recruitment, personnel and information management, time and attendance tracking, and employee self-service.

There is also a large number of available customizations to choose from. The level of customizability means the solution is flexible and easily scalable. As your business grows, you won’t find yourself migrating to another system, which can be very annoying time-consuming.

What do you get for free?

  • Document Management
  • Performance Assessment
  • Employee self-service
  • Personnelinformation management
  • Time and leave management
  • Time and attendance management
  • Travel and expense tracker

Cons

Of course, being an open-source software comes with its cons. The solution needs you, or someone in your company, to have some IT knowledge. You will need to implement your servers and maintain the solution (and its installed hardware).

Customer support is not included in the free version, and updates and bug fixes cost extra. In addition, some limitations could be problematic for advanced users. For example, you won’t keep an audit trail on system changes or customize workflows.

Zoho People

Zoho People

If you’re familiar with the Zoho family of business products and/or have used them before, then Zoho people might be the HR platform you need.

Zoho People is an excellent HR management tool that offers a free version with outstanding features. These features include time and leave management, admin operations, file cabinet, time and attendance tracking, form customization, and real-time collaboration.

You also get performance management functionalities, such as performance appraisals, self-appraisals, and performance reports. In addition, the employee self-service portal gives employees to access and control over their information.

Zoho people also offers integrations with many third-party apps and services. Zoho’s HR process automation is a great time saver and can save your valuable business time, money, and human power.

It acts as a complete HR solution available online, which means you can access it anywhere. In addition, it allows you to manage and access all your employee data from a single location.

Zoho People is the best HR Software for payroll.

What do you get for free?

  • Leave Management
  • Employee self-service
  • Basic HRIS
  • Recruitment Management
  • Employee Management
  • Third-Party Integrations

Cons

Unfortunately, Zoho’s free plan is only available for up to five users and offers a tiny 250-MB of storage. Both numbers mean that the free version is not a free-forever or a freemium plan but is meant as a free trial that will force you to eventually upgrade to a paid plan if you wish to continue using the solution.

Zoho People don’t come with performance management and employee engagement tools. 

ICE HRM

ICR HRM is an HR software for startups, small and mid-sized businesses. The solution has a rich user interface that was built with PHP and Javascript. In addition, this solution is easily customizable and expandable thanks to its modular structure.

As you can expect from a complete HR solution, the solution offers plenty of features such as time tracking, attendance tracking, employee information management, and more.

ICE HRM allows you to easily update all employee information with the click of a button. The timesheets feature is excellent, especially in that you can easily export it as an excel file so you can use it with other applications or import it to another platform.

Since ICE HRM is an open-source application, you get all of this for free, and the only limitation is the number of available users.

What do you get for free?

  • Attendance Management
  • Time Tracking
  • Employee management
  • Company information management
  • Time tracking and timesheets
  • LDAP login

Cons

Unfortunately, ICE HRM’s free version is only available for up to five users. However, you can still use the solution for free, but you will need to host it on your servers and do the maintenance yourself.

ICE HRM is also missing some crucial functions altogether. These include document management, audit trails, and custom HR forms. You will also need to do the troubleshooting yourself as the support is pretty much non-existent, and you will need to find out the answers to your questions and problems on your own.

BambooHR

Bamboo HR

BambooHR is a web-based HR system that’s designed for small and midsized businesses. It enables enterprises to track training, benefits, store information, forms, time-off requests, and more.

BambooHR was built on the principle that HR is for the people only and not the paperwork. They position themselves as a solution that can help small businesses transition from spreadsheets to a flexible and efficient core HRIS system.

BambooHR is user-friendly with an engaging interface that makes using the solution easy.

The solution offers excellent onboarding tools, flexible performance management, customizable fields, tabs, user groups, performance reviews. In addition, BambooHR integrates smoothly with many third-party applicant tracking and payroll systems for extended functionality.

What sets BambooHR apart from other HR software is its intuitive and engaging user experience, making it easy for first-time users to adopt the solution without training quickly.

BamboHR is the best HR software for people management.

Cons

BambooHR doesn’t offer native integration with popular payroll software, something most of its competitors, like Gusto, offer. BambooHR also has a hefty setup fee, unlike Gusto and Zoho People, who don’t charge you a setup fee.

BambooHR Pricing

On its official website, Bamboo doesn’t have an explicit pricing scheme. However, you can find that their pricing starts at $4.95/ employee /month by digging around.

Bamboo offers a 14-day free trial.

OnPay

OnPay

OnPay is a Payroll solution first and a human resources software second, but it excels in both that it still comfortably takes a spot in any list of HR software.

The solution offers the features needed to streamline almost any payroll process. It can also automate your tax filing and payment processing, making payroll that much easier.

OnPay will automatically enter payroll information such as work hours, benefits, and reimbursements. In addition, you get unlimited payroll runs for W-2 workers and 1099 contract staff.

Direct deposit payment is available, or you can go for printed checks instead. In addition, the vendor offers top-notch customer service that will solve whatever issues you might face quickly and efficiently.

OnPay’s main strength lies in its simplicity. The solution is straightforward to use, and you can complete most payroll processes in minutes with a few clicks.

What do you get for free?

You get everything for free for one month, but you need to choose a plan after that. Yes, this means this is also not a free-forever option, but most users who give it a shot tend to like it and upgrade to a paid plan.

The good thing is that you get everything they offer whichever paid plan you choose, as the only difference between these plans is the number of available users.

Cons

OnPay is very easy to use, but setting up the solution could be more accessible. Also, like any payroll software, things can get a bit complex with taxes in some states, and some users have complained about this issue with their tax filings in certain states.

However, this remains a possibility with any payroll software.

Manatal

Manatal

Manatal is a cloud-based recruitment software designed to streamline the whole recruitment process for the corporate HR department and recruitment agencies of all sizes. The software is currently used in over 100 countries. 

The software is praised for its user-friendly interface. It allows HR departments to manage all aspects of their recruitment processes, including pipeline and candidate database management, compliance, and candidate scoring through artificial intelligence (AI). It also includes a career page builder, a recruitment CRM, a complete API, and other valuable features.

Manatal also includes a complete reporting and analytics suite. It offers candidate, job, hiring performance, and leaderboard reports. This lets users analyze recruitment activities to determine why some initiatives work while others fail and how to improve them in the future.

Manatal’s support team is available round the clock via live chat and email. Manatal also provides extensive documentation and video tutorials to help users get the most out of each feature.

Features:

  • All core applicant tracking system features
  • Free and premium job posting on over a thousand channels
  • Career page builder
  • Duplicate candidate management
  • Referral management
  • Collaboration tools
  • Full reporting suite
  • Onboarding/placement management
  • Documentation and video guides
  • Automated resume formatting and branding

Pricing:

Manatal provides a 14-day free trial and has two price plans ($15 and $35 per user/month).

How to Choose the Right Hr Software for Your Business?

Determine your needs 

For your business to invest in a new HR system, you need to be sure that it will meet all your needs and add something valuable to your business. JuAddingechnology to your current process is not enough to justify investing time and money into a new HR system.

You should learn more about the problems you need the HR software to solve and its needs.

You could also have an HR system already in place but are looking to upgrade. In this case, you need to take a look at it and start finding out what works, what doesn’t work, and what do you need that this solution doesn’t offer.

Something worth considering is whether it’s cost- and time-effective to change the solution altogether or is it better to find a way to improve it. Ask your team, your employees, and search the internet on how you can get more out of the current system in use if that’s possible.

You should also take automation heavily into consideration. Automation is indeed a game-changer, and you want a solution that can automate as many tasks as possible. Automation can save you a ton of time and money.

Have High, but Realistic, Expectations 

While deciding what you need from the HR system, you should remember to keep your expectations high, but not too high that it’s unrealistic. Yes, you will be surprised by what current HR systems offer, and some of the features they offer seem too good to be accurate, but that doesn’t mean you expect the impossible out of it.

When implementing a new HR system, too many people have either low or very high software expectations. The key thing to keep in mind here is that an HR system will do a lot for you, but it won’t do everything.

Here’s a tip: Prioritize your needs.

Prioritize your needs as essential, needed, and excellent additions. Try to differentiate between what you need, what you want, and what you fantasize about.

It’s important to discuss this with your team so you are all on the same page. Your team members will have different expectations about the software, so you should set things straight before moving on.

Set a budget 

Depending on the size of your business, the complexity of the system needed, the features you want, the number of employees the system needs to manage, and the vendor, the HR system’s cost can vary significantly.

Small businesses can get away with free or very low-cost HR systems, while large companies can pay thousands in the HR system.

While setting a budget for the new HR system, you should keep in mind that you don’t need to spend a lot, but you will need to invest in getting the features you want in an easy-to-use package. For example, while doing your research, you will find plenty of options in the 5-to-10 thousand dollars price range.

However, these are expensive because most HR software tools offer standard HR functions such as attendance and compensation. This offers more advanced functionalities and features such as managing and tracking benefits and regulatory compliance.

Pay Attention to the essential integrations.

After choosing the features, you need to pay attention to the integrations because some can entirely change your software experience.

Take payroll integration as an example since it’s the most crucial integration you will need to have with an HR system. Therefore, you should go for HR software that integrates seamlessly with popular accounting or payroll solutions.

If you are already using an accounting/payroll solution, which is very likely, you need to make sure the software you choose can integrate quickly and effortlessly with this software.

This integration means you will eliminate data entry from the process and provide consistent information across your business. In addition, the HR software will automatically port all your existing data from the other system.

Think About Customization 

No matter how much an HR system costs, there is nothing like a perfect software package. It may suit your needs, but it will never be perfect. This is why you need to think about customization.

HR management solutions providers do their best to cover all bases by offering all the features they think businesses need built-in their software. However, you will still need some things to be custom-built for your business, as these can make your workflow that much smoother.

You can do this with customization options. For example, you will need certain things in your reports or a specific screen layout. If the solution enables you to customize the fields in your reports or the layout elements to your needs, you will be more productive and efficient.

Customization options also give you headroom for future changes that will inevitably happen to your business. This means you reduce the chances of you switching to another HR system in the future because you will be able to modify the system and have it still meet your needs even if with the changes in your organization.

Start your search & Narrow it Down.

Now that you know exactly what you need from the software, it’s time to do your research. Start with Google, visit the vendors’ websites, and talk to salespeople. Try to learn as much as possible about each solution.

Make a list of the available options and work your way down to the best five, four, or three options. These should meet all your needs, fit the budget, and be suitable for your business & industry.

Try them out for yourself.

After narrowing down your list to only three to five solutions, you should check out the options for yourself before committing.

Just reading reviews online and talking to salespeople are in no way enough to make a decision. Instead, you should talk to other users of each solution and tell them about their experience using the software.

Don’t know anyone who uses the software? Ask the vendors! Ask each vendor for a recent client list and contact those that seem most similar to your business.

Then, it would be best if you tried the software out for yourself. You will find that most vendors offer a free demo upon request, so you can check what they offer more in-depth. It’s essential to try and pick out the issues or problems because you don’t want to invest the time and money to implement and set up the solution, only to be surprised by some hidden problems.

Watch out for hidden fees.

Some software companies play a tricky game with their pricing. You will find that some providers offer essential functions but then, after purchasing the software and implementing it, you need to pay for some features you thought were included in the package.

It’s like buying a house and then finding out that the doors and windows are extras, and you need to pay more to have them installed. Of course, it’s a no-brainer that the house has doors and windows, but it’s a bit more tricky with HR software.

Have a lengthy discussion with the salesperson or vendor representative about the package you are buying offers and what you will need to pay for. Ask every question you need to ask, and it’s not something that should be rushed, and make sure you understand precisely which features are included in their core pricing and which ones need to be purchased separately.

Consider the time of setting it up.

In the business world, time is money. Therefore, software that needs more minor up-front customizations will be set up more quickly.

One more thing to consider is how easy the software is to use. Which would you rather? Software that can be set up in a day but is so complex and challenging to use that every employee needs a week of training to use it or one that you can set up in two days, but your employees can start using it right away because it’s so intuitive and easy to use.

That’s it! Congratulations, you now know all the basics of how to choose an HR system for your business. As you can see, it’s not easy, but it’s not mind-bogglingly tricky, either.

It will take time and effort, but it’s worth it if you want to choose software that will push your business forward.

Final Words:

We know choosing is not easy; it rarely is. Unfortunately, that’s just the business world we live in, but it’s a great thing that we have these many choices of free HR software for startups to choose from.

We hope we have made the process of making a decision a bit simpler for you. If this has helped you make a decision, please tell us in the comments.

We hope you enjoyed this article. If so, you might enjoy these resources:

One thought on “14 Best Free HR Software for Startups

  1. Enjoyed reading the article above , really explains everything in detail,the article is very interesting and effective.Thank you and good luck for the upcoming articles
    Very interesting,good job and thanks for sharing such a good blog.You’re doing a great job.Keep it up

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