Human Resources tasks can be very time- and resources-consuming for small businesses. This is why, as a business owner or manager, one of the first things you should do is to start looking at the best & most suitable HR software for small business that can help your business in today’s competitive market.
Offline or Online HR software for small businesses can help businesses centralize the majority of their HR resources and streamline most of the HR-related tasks such as benefits administration, timekeeping, and more.
Similar to Marketing Automation software, HR software helps businesses by automating many of the tasks that would’ve otherwise been done manually, which can save small businesses a lot of time and money.
To make the best out of your HR software, you need to pick out the best HR software for your business, which is why we are going to list some of the best available options, their advantages and disadvantages, and their pricing, to make choosing one easier for you.
The Best HR Software for Small Business & Startups:
- Zoho People
- People Spheres
These are in no particular order. We favor no solution over the other because, in the end, it’s mostly objective and depends on what you need from the solution.
Gusto is a great HR Software for small businesses. Gusto’s main strength is in its offerings considering employee benefits.
Gusto was mainly designed as a payroll software, but what it offers in terms of HR and benefits is so excellent and robust, and its pricing is reasonable enough that it can easily take its place as a excellent HR software for small business.
Gusto offers HR, onboarding, payroll, reports, employee benefits, online forms, e-signature, an employee database, and more.
Gusto makes the recruitment process paperless and more efficient to save your energy, time, and money.
Importing employee data from other application is a time-saving feature that will make onboarding much easier. It also provides your new employees with a professional hiring experience.
Gusto integrates with other popular accounting and time-tracking applications to provide further functionality for their users.
Gusto doesn’t offer applicant tracking or performance management. No recruiting tools are available, so you need to find employees using other tools. Gusto’s health insurance benefits are also not available in all 50 U.S. states, so you might want to check if it’s available for your state before making a decision.
Gusto offers three pricing plans:
Core Plan: costs $39/mo. + $6/ employee /mo. – includes all payroll features, health benefits, employee accounts and profiles, workers’ comp administration, and customer support.
Complete Plan: Costs $39/mo. + $12/ employee /mo. – Includes all the features of the core plan and adds hiring and onboarding tools, surveys, and time-off requests.
Concierge Plan: Costs $149/mo. + $12/ employee /mo. – Includes all the features of the Complete plan and adds advanced HR tools such as HR resource center, and dedicated support.
You can add health benefit, commuter benefits, HSAs, FSAs, 401(K) plans, and 529 Plans to any plan.
Gusto offers a one-month free trial.
Namely is a solution that can cover the entire HR life cycle and do all-things-Human -Resource-Management related. It allows users to customize and tailor anything they want to fit your already-existing business processes.
Namely offers a clean and practical interface, and the newsfeed is an efficient way to communicate with your employees. You can easily set up workflows, view org charts, manage company calendar, manage user roles, and store company documents using Namely with ease.
Namely offers all the professional HR features a business can need, including benefits, talent management, performance reviews, onboarding, payroll, timekeeping, and managed services.
Namely can integrate with almost any software, and it provides users with more pre-configured integration options than any of its competitors.
The managed services and the social networking feed are two of Namely’s unique features that you won’t be able to find with other HR solutions.
Namely also offers Namely Exchange, which is an online marketplace for employee benefits.
As explained, Namely is a comprehensive HR suite that offers almost everything. However, this comes at a cost; the solution takes 8 to 12 weeks to implement due to all the customization needed.
Namely is also quite expensive, and they make matters worse by not offering an explicit pricing scheme online, so you will need to speak to a salesperson to get a quote for your business.
Unlike many other HR solutions, Namely doesn’t release their pricing online.
However, with some digging, you can find that Namely costs about $15-$30 per employee per month plus their one-time implementation fee which ranges from $50 to $80 per employee.
Bamboo 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.
Bamboo 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.
Bamboo is user-friendly with an engaging interface that makes using the solution easy.
The solution offers excellent onboarding tools, flexible performance management, and customizable fields, tabs, user groups, and table.
Bamboo integrates smoothly with many third-party applicant tracking and payroll systems for extended functionality.
What sets Bamboo HR apart from other HR applications is their intuitive and engaging user experience that makes it easy for first-time users to adopt the solution quickly without the need for training.
Bamboo doesn’t offer native integration with popular payroll and benefits software which is something most of its competitors, like Gusto, offers. Bamboo also has a hefty setup fee, unlike Gusto and Zoho people that don’t charge you’re a setup fee at all.
On its official website, Bamboo doesn’t have an explicit pricing scheme. However, by doing some digging around, you can find that their pricing starts at $6.19/ employee /month.
Bamboo offers a 14-day free trial.
Zenefits aims to be a flexible and comprehensive HR solution that does without the complexity of other HR platforms while still giving businesses everything they need with a focus on businesses that have employees that spend a lot of time on the road.
Zenefits is an excellent HR suite for small and mid-size businesses that offer a robust suite of tools that can automate as many HR tasks as possible. The solution can automate onboarding, onboarding tasks, employee data, paperwork management, compliance tasks, and more.
Zenefits also offers time tracking, payroll processing, and regulatory compliance. Zenefits offers a full-service benefits management portal as well as a comprehensive payroll portal, but you can opt to hook into another payroll provider if you wish to.
The solution puts a lot of focus on mobile, and their mobile applications offer more than mobile apps of other HR solutions. Zenefits also provides integrations with plenty of third-party apps and services including Salesforce, Asana, and many more.
Surprisingly enough, Zenefits is not the best solution for handling benefits. The software itself has some limitations, and it doesn’t assist with claims issues and questions.
Zenefits’s integrations need work as well; the integrations are not as deep as those offered by competitors.
Many users also complain about the constant increase in prices over the last couple of years, which is understandably frustrating considering they now charge users for features that used to be free.
Zenefits offer two main pricing plans:
Standard: Costs $40/mo. base fee + $5/ employee /mo. Includes the HR platform, business intelligence, Custom fields, and Documents App.
Advanced: Costs $40/mo. base fee+ $9/ employee /mo. Includes all the features of the standard plan and adds Time-off tracking, HR library, ACA compliance, and Compliance assistant.
No free trial is available. There are a couple of available add-on applications, these are Payroll, Benefits, Time and attendance, HR advisor, Payroll Advisor, performance management, and ultimate advisor.
If you are looking for a free HR application and have a small team of 5 people or less, then Zoho people is one of your best options. Zoho people is a part of the much large Zoho suite of business and productivity software.
Zoho people offers basic HR data, workflow and reports, documents, leave tracking, performance management, and time-tracking in a user-friendly package that is a delight to use.
With Zoho People, you can customize data entry from employees, keep track of employee time, set performance goals, identify key performance areas, and give 360-degree feedback to your employees easily.
You also get talent management and software integrations with popular payroll solutions like QuickBooks, and you can integrate the solution with any software through Zapier.
Zoho’s customer support, user community, and knowledge base mean you will always be able to find answers to any questions you may have and solutions to problems you may face.
Zoho lacks native integration with payroll software used in the U.S. Also lacking is integration with benefits providers such as life insurance companies and healthcare.
This is somewhat negated by the fact that you can set up your own integrations via Zapier, but this requires extra effort and time from the already-busy people of small businesses, so it’s not ideal.
Zoho People offer 5 pricing packages on their website:
Free Forever – Costs nothing – limited to 5 employees – basic HRIS.
Essential HR – costs $0.83/employee/mo. Gives you basic HRIS with self-service login for employees plus leave management.
Professional – Costs $1.66/employee/mo. Adds attendance and timesheets
Premium – Costs $2.5/employee/mo. Adds shift scheduling, basic performance tracking, and Zoho reports integration.
Enterprise – Costs $4.16/employee/mo. Adds 360-degree feedback, cases, and Multi-Rater feedback.
A 15-day free trial is available – no credit card required.
Cezanne HR is one of the best HR 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 exactly what the business needs and nothing else. Cezanne offers tools for performance reviews, recruitment, people management, Payroll, and more.
Cezanne is a more comprehensive solution that other options on this list, and 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 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 be to everyone’s liking.
Cezanne HR doesn’t have clear pricing plans, but instead of having to endure the negotiations with a salesperson, you can get a quote by using their online quote calculator.
PeopleSpheres is an excellent solution for users who are already using multiple software platforms and are looking for a way to simplify things.
This is a 3-in-1 platform that can be used as a central hub to all your HR services as it can integrate with other HR services and synchronizes all your employee data automatically to save you a lot of time and effort.
The solution allows you to create a custom profile for each employee which you can then update with requests and then accept or reject these requests and send automatic notifications to their profiles.
They also offer a cross-platform reporting tool that lets you generate a wide range of reports with ease and then send a weekly digest notification email to everyone in your organization to keep everyone up to date.
The main disadvantage of PeopleSphere is that it’s not an HR solution in itself. Instead, it’s an integration platform that allows you to connect other HR solutions and platforms you are already using to get the best results.
If you are entirely new to HR software, this is not the one for you.
PeopleSphere has a starting price of $5/ employee /month, and it can go all the way up to $15/ employee /month depending on the features your business needs.
GoCo is one of the best all-in-one HR software for small businesses. The solution offers detailed employee documentation including personal details, vacations, and more. It also provides dashboards to manage employee benefits, onboarding, timesheets, and so on.
What makes GoCo stands out is their network of benefit advisors that provide support for their users when they need it.
GoCo doesn’t offer payroll, but it offers integrations with popular payroll solutions like Xero, QuickBooks, ADP, and more. The solution also integrates with Slack to make getting HR tasks done much more comfortable.
GoCo has a clean interface that’s pleasing to use and that improves the overall experience of using it.
Most users’ complaints about GoCo revolve around the limitations of some of its features – like vacation time tracking. There’s also an issue with some hidden costs. Users have complained that they were, at times, charged for things they thought were free.
Also, while the integration with Slack is good, it would be nice to see more integrations with project management software.
GoCo offers two pricing plans:
Complete HR – Costs $29/mo. base fee + $6/employee/mo. and includes all the basic HR features such as integrations, user permissions, reporting, team performance & feedback, onboarding, document storage, time-off tracking, and benefits.
Premium HR – Costs $29/mo. base fee + $10/employee/mo. and adds advanced features and functionality such as custom time-off policy compliance, Advanced rule configuration, accruals, liabilities, and balances, and more.
There is no free trial available, but you can request a demo.
If your business is overgrowing, or you are an international business (or plan on going internationally soon), then OneMint might be one of your best options.
OneMint was made for businesses in complex industries like healthcare and food services. This is a scalable solution that can take care of HR management for small businesses.
OneMint offers an intuitive interface and offers HR, benefits, workforce management (including talent management), and they even add Payroll – which is included in the pricing, unlike many of its competitors.
The solution is designed as a single database and works seamlessly as an interconnected system. This gives you more control over the security and roles, for instance, you can choose who can use the system, when, and where.
The payroll feature is only available for businesses in the U.S. and its territories, which means international businesses do no get it. The pricing is also a bit high when compared with competitors that offer similar features.
OneMint doesn’t have clear pricing packages on their website, but with some Googling and asking around, we found that it costs about $7 - $10 per user per month. No free trial is available, but you can book a demo on their website.
Paycor is a great HR software that’s designed for small businesses. The solution supports the entire employee life cycle, meaning you can manage recruitment, labor law compliance, onboarding, payroll, time and attendance, benefits, performance management, reporting, payroll, and more.
It’s a scalable solution, so you can count on it as your business keeps growing without having to experiment with add-ons and other solutions to cover all your HR needs. Paycor is great for companies with just a few employees, but it can quickly grow to accommodate 10,000 employees and more.
Although professionals and experts of their fields designed Paycor, the solution remains easy to use by anyone. Their features are robust but without the complexities that come with other solutions.
Custom reporting is great, there’s payroll tax integration for all 50 U.S. states, and you can export files easily to share your data.
For all of its focus on small businesses, it would’ve been great to see a free version or even a free trial. Sadly, they offer neither, which means that you can’t test if it’s a good fit for your business before making a decision.
Again, there is no clear pricing plan here. What we do know is that the annual cost of Paycor is $289.90 for one employee and can go all the way up to $9,230.00 for 300 employees.
As you can see, pricing and features can vary from one provider to the next, and it all depends on what you need from the solution.
What are the features you are looking for in an HR software? Drop the answer in a comment below!