If you’ve never used human resources (HR) management software before, don’t worry—I have. In fact, I used a system I wasn’t too keen on for nine long years…
It wasn’t all bad though. All those years of strife gave me an eternal spring of troublesome scenarios to draw from. Now that I’m reviewing software for a living, those scenarios are a useful silver lining. (And don’t worry, the HR system I used is not in this list!)
HR management software is a broad term for a wide range of HR software systems. They’re an essential backbone to every HR team’s tech stack, as common as an apple in your grocery basket. But we all know, there are a wide variety of apples to choose from, and some taste better than others.
In this article, I’ll walk you through the top-ranking apples—I mean, HR management software—on the market today. I’ll highlight the standout features in each platform, to help you find the flavor you like the best.
Best HR Management Software Shortlist
Here’s the shortlist of the best HR management software that I taste-tested for this article:
Enterprise-level HCM software with advanced skill assessment capabilities to support talent development
- Cezanne HR
Broad HR system with advanced performance management features, well-suited for multinational organizations
Modern human resources software with extensive tools for deepening company culture and employee engagement
Sophisticated HR software solution with advanced analytics capabilities and time-saving compliance management features
Technologically savvy HR management software with a wide range of tools to support distributed organizations
User-friendly HR solution for small and medium businesses with excellent employee self-service and mobile access abilities
- UKG Pro
Advanced HCM software with talent management tools and AI-backed employee feedback sentiment analysis
- Zoho People
Comprehensive all-in-one HRMS software, well-suited for shift-based, remote and mobile workforces
HR management software with modern features for performance management, employee recognition and engagement
- Sage HR
Adaptable HRMS software with unlimited applicant pipelines and an expense management app
Wondering what I look for when selecting the best HR management systems for this list? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria for comparing apples to apples:
- User Interface (UI): I look for systems with clean, colourful, and visually appealing user interfaces that will ensure a positive experience when staff at all levels use the software.
- Usability: I chose systems that are simple and straightforward to use, which don’t require extensive training to be able to complete tasks independently.
- Integrations: I always keep an eye out for systems with lots of software integrations as they will have a big impact on improving the overall productivity level of your HR team. The more integrations, the better!
- Value for $: While I always prefer HR software with transparent pricing models, sometimes those details are only available upon request due to the modular nature of many systems (i.e., you’ll only pay for the modules you actually want).
HR Management Software: Key Features
Every apple is different, and the same is true for HR management software too. Yet, no matter which way you slice them, they have some common features too.
Here’s a short summary of the main features you can expect to find within the best HR software solutions:
- A central employee database: HR management systems act as a single source of employee-related information that link data from rich employee profiles across all modules automatically.
- Time off & attendance tracking: Tools for tracking your employee’s work hours, as well as their vacation dates and other absence requests.
- Linked benefits administration: A process for linking employee benefit options and costs directly with your core employee and payroll data to cut down on manual or double data entry.
- Payroll functions: Integrated payroll capability that automatically pulls data from other key modules, like time tracking and benefits administration modules.
- Performance management tools: System-wide features that support continuous performance-based feedback, including check-ins, 360-degree feedback and goal setting features.
- Learning & development features: A built-in system for hosting internal training modules for your staff, to help them grow and develop their skills over time.
- Training & compliance tracking: A way to ensure your staff are always up-to-speed on any job-specific training or certifications, including automated tools that track expiry dates.
- Recruiting & onboarding tools: A suite of tools that help HR teams post jobs, track and screen candidates, and turn applicants into new employees with links to onboarding processes.
- Self-service: The ability for employees to update their own personal information independently without relying heavily on HR staff, often achieved through robust mobile apps.
- Reports and analytics: The best HR software should have metrics and analytics baked right into the system, so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to dig deeper into your workforce metrics.
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Overviews of the 10 Best HR Management Software
Here’s a brief description of each HR management software to showcase each tool’s best use case, some noteworthy features, and screenshots to give you a snapshot of the user interface.
Workday – Enterprise-level HCM software with advanced skill assessment capabilities to support talent development
Workday is a human capital management (HCM) system with a broad suite of features. Their wide range of software solutions work seamlessly together, making them well-suited for large or enterprise-level organizations who have a lot of sophisticated workforce and data management needs. Workday’s HCM includes classic modules for managing employee data, time tracking, a paid time-off tracker, administering employee benefits, and payroll processing, including global payroll and pay-on-demand capabilities.
Their talent development suite is also more advanced than many systems, and includes tools for learning & development, performance management, and a skills cloud of 55,000+ skills that uses machine learning to run skill gap analyses and identify opportunities for internal mobility. Other advanced features include customizable process flows with configurable conditional logic settings, and workforce planning and analysis tools that help with strategic growth and succession planning, including “what if” scenarios and flexible organizational charting tools.
Workday also offers advanced reporting and analytics features including data dashboards, scorecards and retention analysis tools. In addition, their compensation management module includes metrics for analyzing diversity and pay equity, and tracks other helpful financial details such as employee rewards & bonuses and executive compensation plans.
Workday comes with 600+ pre-built software integrations with commonly used tools. On the off chance that your programs of choice aren’t already in their list, additional software integrations are available through their custom API. They also have a full-feature mobile app that syncs data in real-time, making it easy to access information from anywhere.
Pricing details for Workday HCM are only available upon request. You can also request a free demo through their website.
Cezanne HR – Broad HR system with advanced performance management features, well-suited for multinational organizations
Cezanne HR is a cloud-based human resource management system with a comprehensive suite of features that support the entire employee lifecycle. Their people management module includes rich employee profiles that track everything from employee milestones to bonuses, training & development, and asset tracking (employee laptops, mobile phones, etc.). They also have a module for onboarding new employees, including a useful task manager to help new staff prioritize training tasks, and a customizable time tracking and absence management module that can be configured to match your corporate policies.
Other core features include recruitment software that posts jobs to multiple job boards with just one click, and an applicant tracking system to sort candidates. In addition, Cezanne HR also includes tools to improve international communication, document management, and knowledge sharing, with straightforward employee and manager self-service access. To keep tabs on your employee morale, Cezanne HR also has tools to measure employee engagement like pulse surveys, anonymous surveys, and an eNPS (employee net promoter score) scoring system.
They are a strong choice for multinational companies thanks to their country-specific compliance information, reports in multiple currencies, and free language translations. Other advanced features include their modern performance management module that includes continuous feedback methods like check-ins, 360 degree feedback, and multi-stage goal setting. Within their performance management module, Cezanne HR also includes career development and succession planning tools like performance potential grids, internal talent pools, and flags to identify employees with high flight risk, who are overdue for advancement.
Cezanne HR integrates with Curo, Docebo, HFX, PerkBox, SmartRecruiters, Talent Hub, Teamtailor, WebExpenses, WeThrive, and Workable, as well as with common single sign-on applications like Active Directory, Azure, Google, Microsoft Office 365, Okta, Salesforce and others. They also have a simplified iOS and Android mobile app for timesheets and clocking in/out.
Pricing details for Cezanne HR are only available upon request. You can also request a free demo through their website.
Bob – Modern human resources software with extensive tools for deepening company culture and employee engagement
Bob (sometimes referred to as “HiBob”) is a human resources information system (HRIS) known for its fun, engaging and social media-like user interface. The depth of the software’s culture building and engagement tools make it a good choice for organizations with distributed or hybrid teams. Bob’s culture building tools including internal clubs of like-minded peers, rich employee profiles where staff can express their gender identity, preferred pronoun, neurodiversity, ethnicity, languages, and hobbies, and system-wide features that make DEI&B (diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging) top of mind for management staff. In addition, Bob also includes an extensive library of employee survey templates to measure different types of employee engagement, including anonymous feedback.
Their onboarding process starts new hires off on the right foot, with automated pre-boarding and onboarding flows, shout-outs/welcome messages, and personalized onboarding checklists. From there, employees will appreciate being able to track their time off requests and weekly timesheets right from the same system, with added functions to support remote or hybrid workforces. Bob also acts as a document repository for corporate documents, making it easier to share information among your workforce, with the ability to digitally sign-off on documents whenever needed too.
Bob’s advanced compensation management module tracks base pay, bonuses, equity plans, employee tenure, and employee performance in one place for easy annual salary reviews, including values in multiple currencies – another bonus for distributed workforces. On top of that, their comprehensive performance management module includes other modern elements like 360 degree feedback, regular 1:1 check-ins, actionable goals, and agile performance review cycles. To tie it all together, their system-wide HR analytics include KPI dashboards, proactive insights & trends, attrition indicators, and custom reports.
Bob integrates with 40+ commonly used HR software systems, including applicant tracking systems, e-learning platforms, payroll providers, productivity tools and more. They also have a full-feature mobile app for Android and iOS mobile devices.
Pricing details for Bob are only available upon request. You can also request a free demo or a free trial through their website.
intelliHR – Sophisticated HR software solution with advanced analytics capabilities and time-saving compliance management features
intelliHR is a people management and analytics platform with best-practice tools to help organizations align and manage their people and culture strategy within their broader business strategy. Their software includes customizable workflows that you can automate for your unique business processes, or for traditional workflows like employee onboarding & offboarding, and policy sign-offs. They also have a well-rounded set of culture-based performance appraisal tools, including 1:1 check-in templates, 360-degree feedback, cascadable goals & OKRs (objectives and key results), and performance analytics.
Speaking of analytics, intelliHR truly excels in terms of their deep suite of metrics that cover insights across team sentiment, attrition, performance, employee satisfaction & well-being, and more. Their analytics are also easy to digest since they’re displayed in visual and interactive dashboards with charts, graphs and even word clouds to help managers and leadership spot data trends easily.
Employee engagement tools are also well-incorporated into their software, including company-wide well-being check-ins, engagement and pulse surveys, and eNPS surveys and analytics. In addition, intelliHR includes dedicated tools to address employee turnover and attrition rates, including survival analysis metrics, exit interview and turnover analysis tools, and an offboarding workflow that collects feedback while leaving employees with a professional last impression.
Their software is well-suited for organizations in compliance-heavy industries thanks to their time-saving compliance management tools and related analytics. Their system has the ability to track job-specific training requirements and certification expiry dates, as well as company policy and procedure sign-offs, and other training records to ensure you’re always audit-ready, with the option to run a compliance report on short notice.
intelliHR integrates with 40+ popular HR software systems, including many applicant tracking systems, learning & training platforms, payroll systems, and communication tools. If your HR tech isn’t already in their list, additional integrations can be configured through their public API. The only drawback to speak of is that there currently is no mobile app.
Pricing for intelliHR starts at $3.60/employee/month for their Employee Engagement offering, with additional plans available. You can also request a free demo through their website.
Rippling – Technologically savvy HR management software with a wide range of tools to support distributed organizations
Rippling has packaged their HR management software into three distinct bundles: Workforce Platform, HR Cloud and IT Cloud. All three of their products operate seamlessly or can be purchased independently, depending on your business needs. Due to their sophisticated IT and global features, their software is well-suited to support distributed workforces.
Rippling’s Workforce Platform offers strong workflow automations and process improvement tools for workforce management, including tools for onboarding & offboarding and document approvals using e-signatures.
Their HR Cloud includes a suite of flexible modules for core HR tasks, including full-service payroll software with time-tracking and benefits administration data automatically synced to payroll to improve productivity and payroll accuracy. They even offer professional employer organization (PEO) services for organizations interested in hiring international talent, including international benefit plans, compliance tracking, and global payroll processing.
Still within their HR Cloud, their talent management and recruitment module features one-click job postings to multiple job boards, an applicant tracking system to organize candidates, and automatic interview scheduling through calendar integrations. To round that all out, their HR Cloud also includes a flexible learning management system (LMS) with 1,000+ pre-built courses and tools to build your own, plus automations to assign, remind and track course completion.
Last but not least, their IT Cloud offering really sets them apart from other traditional HRIS platforms. Within it, they offer advanced device & inventory management features to track, update, lock and wipe devices, manage security threats, and organize software (including purchasing apps and hardware) for new employees. In addition, they have app & identity management tools for password management, software lifecycle management, provisioning & deprovisioning of software licenses, multi-factor authentication, and single sign-on services too.
Rippling has 500+ native integrations available through their App Shop. If needed, you can also set up custom integrations through their API too. They do have two mobile apps as well: “Rippling – Time Clock” for clocking in/out, and “Rippling – Simplify HR & IT” for viewing pay stubs, managing time-off, accessing the employee directory, and managing passwords and apps.
Pricing for Rippling starts at $8/employee/month. You can also request a free demo through their website.
BambooHR – User-friendly HR solution for small and medium businesses with excellent employee self-service and mobile access abilities
BambooHR’s HR management software was designed to act as a single source of employee data for small businesses or medium-sized organizations, with data synced across all system modules to eliminate the need for double data entry. Their software solution offers two service levels – Essentials and Advantage – with many additional features available as add-ons, including payroll services, time-tracking, and performance management.
BambooHR is well-known for their easy and intuitive employee self-service features, which include time-off requests, and accessing the company directory, org chart or company calendar (including via mobile app). These types of features are really helpful as they reduce employee’s reliance on HR professionals, saving HR teams time. They also have a solid set of built-in reporting and analytics tools to support workforce planning and strategic data-driven decision-making too.
Some of the features that make BambooHR stand out are their in-depth tools to measure employee satisfaction, including a combination of eNPS and employee well-being surveys, plus anonymous and open-ended feedback, intelligent keyword tagging, and sentiment analysis tools.
Their software also excels in the area of hiring and onboarding, with customizable offer letter templates that automatically pulls relevant candidate and position details from their built-in applicant tracking system (ATS) to speed up the process (plus e-signature capabilities to improve the candidate experience too). This is followed by their personalized new hire packages (including pre-boarding) that are built off of time-saving templates for different job types, departments or locations.
BambooHR integrates with 60+ commonly used HR software systems, with additional integrations available through their API. They also have an employee-facing Android and iOS mobile app that covers time-off requests, team calendar access, staff directory, company announcements, e-signing documents, and goal updates, plus a separate app for mobile recruiting that works in tandem with their ATS.
Pricing details for BambooHR are only available upon request. You can also request a free demo or a free trial through their website.
UKG Pro – Advanced HCM software with talent management tools and AI-backed employee feedback sentiment analysis
UKG Pro is a modern HCM (human capital management) and workforce management platform designed for medium-sized businesses all the way up to enterprise-level organizations. Their core offerings include integrated payroll processing with compliance and tax filing support, and strong workforce management features like time & attendance tracking, intelligent employee scheduling, workforce compliance monitoring, and real-time people analytics.
They also have several helpful employee self-service functions, including a document manager for corporate policies and automated workflows to streamline common people-based HR processes. On top of that, employees will appreciate their “UKG Wallet” app that allows them to access their earned wages in advance of their next official pay day.
There are several features that make UKG Pro stand out from other platforms, including their sophisticated “Employee Voice” feature that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to collect, measure and analyze employee feedback by using machine learning and natural language processing to determine employee engagement levels. To dig deeper into your people analytics, UKG Pro includes an extensive library of pre-built reports (or you can build your own) with helpful visualization tools like bubble charts, heat maps, scatter graphs and more.
Other advanced talent management features worth mentioning are their collaborative performance reviews, goal setting abilities, predictive performance analytics, and succession planning tools. They also have an integrated learning management system (LMS) that functions as a branded training academy with automatic tracking, plus knowledge sharing, skill development, and social collaboration features to make learning initiatives more engaging.
UKG Pro has 80+ native software integrations with common HR software solutions. They also have an Android and iOS mobile app for clocking in/out, and accessing HR and benefits data, pay statements, individual goals, the company directory, and more.
Pricing details for UKG Pro are only available upon request. You can also request a free demo through their website.
Zoho People – Comprehensive all-in-one HRMS software, well-suited for shift-based, remote and mobile workforces
Zoho People is a cloud-based human resources management system (HRMS) that aims to simplify HR operations and the employee experience. Their HRMS software covers all the core HR functions you’d expect, including employee data management, recruitment and onboarding, integrated payroll and expense management features, time-off requests, and system-wide HR analytics.
Their employee database software is used in over 45 countries, and scales easily as your organization grows. Even at their lowest pricing level, Zoho People users will benefit from workflow management tools, module-based reports, and “Zia” – their AI bot which answers employee questions across the entire system.
Zoho People works well for businesses with hourly, shift-based, field-based, or remote workforces due to the depth of their attendance tracking, shift-scheduling, and mobile check-in features. Their platform includes geo-fencing capabilities that allow organizations to mark geographic locations (such as field offices or work sites) using GPS points. This improves the accuracy of recorded work hours since it ensures that employees can only check-in for work when they arrive in the work area, and not before. Zoho’s People Kiosk is also a sophisticated version of a traditional punch-clock that uses AI-based facial recognition to track in and out times for remote workers.
Zoho People has native software integrations with a handful of popular software applications, with more accessible through a paid Zapier plan too. They also have a whole suite of custom Zoho apps that work seamlessly with Zoho People as well. In addition, they have a full-feature mobile app for Android and iOS devices as well.
Pricing for Zoho People starts at $1.25/user/month. You can also request a free demo or a 30-day free trial through their website.
Namely – HR management software with modern features for performance management, employee recognition and engagement
Namely’s HR solution covers the full employee lifecycle from recruiting to retiring. Their simple onboarding process walks new hires through typical HR administrative requirements, which feed into their system’s rich employee profiles. New staff details are automatically delivered to E-Verify to maintain compliance, and employees can use e-signatures to sign off on key forms as they work their way through their orientation paperwork.
Namely also includes integrated payroll and time-tracking modules, with data automatically synced to avoid any need for dual data entry. In addition to their regular payroll processing—which includes garnishment administration, configurable general ledger (GL) exports, and automatic tax calculations—Namely also supports unlimited payroll runs, including off cycle (in-between) payroll runs for unexpected situations. Employee benefits costs are also automatically synced with payroll too, which is a huge time saver for HR team members who’ve been tasked with transferring the data from one system to another.
In addition to their classic employee management features, Namely also includes modern talent management capabilities within their HR system. These include goal alignment and tracking features, continuous feedback mechanisms, and customizable performance review cycles including 360 degree feedback from managers, peers, and employees themselves (self reviews). Namely also tracks employee milestones and promotes employee recognition through public announcements and shout-outs (called @Appreciations).
Users will appreciate Namely’s robust, out-of-the-box analytics and data dashboards that can be used as is, or customized to your business needs, plus tools to create an unlimited number of custom and ad hoc reports. All the classic report templates you can think of are already loaded, including reports for turnover analytics, burnout analysis and DEI tracking.
Namely includes integrations with 65 common HR software solutions, including many applicant tracking systems, single sign-on programs, learning & development platforms, and employee recognition & engagement solutions. They also have an open API that supports additional custom integrations, as well as a mobile app for viewing pay stubs, submitting time off requests, and managing your employee profile.
Pricing details for Namely are only available upon request. You can also request a free demo through their website.
Sage HRMS is a full-featured platform with modules for recruiting, employee onboarding, timesheets, shift scheduling, leave management, employee expenses, performance, and HR reporting. Within their performance management module, users will appreciate their modern features like 1:1 meeting templates, goals and OKRs (objectives and key results), 360 degree feedback, and employee surveys. Their recruitment module also offers users a lot of flexibility, with options to customize your pipeline stages and triggers, set up an unlimited number of applicant pipelines for different positions, and incorporate employee referrals for top talent.
One highlight of Sage’s HR management software is their expense management module, which can save a lot of time and headaches for organizations with lots of staff expenses piling up, waiting for reimbursement. Sage simplifies the typical expense claim process by automating it through their mobile app. Employees can take photos of their business expense receipts on their phone, then fill out a simple approval form and submit it directly to their designated expense manager. This saves companies time and paper, since the entire process is digital, and provides a better employee experience for staff who will appreciate the simplified process.
Sage HR does offer integrations, but only mentions Google Suite, Slack and Active Directory on their website. They do, however, have an API to support any custom integrations you may require. They also have several mobile apps available for Android and iOS devices, covering different employee self-service functions.
Pricing for Sage HR is transparent and modular, meaning you can get by only paying for the modules you actually need. Pricing starts at $7/employee/month for their core HR package, with many additional add-ons available for an extra monthly fee. You can also request a free demo or a 30-day free trial through their website.
The 10 Best HR Management Software Summary
|Workday||Enterprise-level HCM software with advanced skill assessment capabilities to support talent development||
Free demo available
|Pricing upon request|
|Cezanne HR||Broad HR system with advanced performance management features, well-suited for multinational organizations||
Free demo available
|Pricing upon request|
|Bob||Modern human resources software with extensive tools for deepening company culture and employee engagement||
Free trial + free demo
|Pricing upon request|
|intelliHR||Sophisticated HR software solution with advanced analytics capabilities and time-saving compliance management features||
Free demo available
|Rippling||Technologically savvy HR management software with a wide range of tools to support distributed organizations||
Free demo available
|BambooHR||User-friendly HR solution for small and medium businesses with excellent employee self-service and mobile access abilities||
Free trial + free demo
|Pricing upon request|
|UKG Pro||Advanced HCM software with talent management tools and AI-backed employee feedback sentiment analysis||
Free demo available
|Pricing upon request|
|Zoho People||Comprehensive all-in-one HRMS software, well-suited for shift-based, remote and mobile workforces||
30-day free trial + free demo
|Namely||HR management software with modern features for performance management, employee recognition and engagement||
Free demo available
|Pricing upon request|
|Sage HR||Adaptable HRMS software with unlimited applicant pipelines and an expense management app||
30-day free trial + free demo
Here are a few more options that didn’t make the cut for the best HR software list:
- SAP SuccessFactors – Enterprise-level HR management software suite focused on human experience management.
- Personio – Flexible HR tool for managing employee data, including automated workflow tools to increase productivity.
- Retable – User-friendly recruiting management software with helpful templates covering interview questions, talent development planning, team workload planning, onboarding and more.
- Freshteam – Human resource management software well-suited for small business – available as a 21-day free trial.
- Connecteam – HR management software for deskless workers, including employee scheduling, time clocking in/out, task management, checklists and forms.
- Arcoro – Core HR management software well-suited for compliance and health & safety focused industries.
- Rise – Comprehensive all-in-one HRIS platform for Canadian organizations.
- Oracle HCM – Enterprise-level human capital management system including a digital assistant that helps with employee self-service.
- Paycor – Scalable human capital management platform that works for small business or enterprise-level clients.
- OrangeHRM – Cloud-based HRMS software with modules for people management, company culture, compensation, and talent management, plus a free option available under an open source license.
Are There Different Types of HR Management Software?
Yes, you bet there are! There are lots of sub-types of HR management software to choose from. The most common types include:
- HRIS = human resource information system
- HCM = human capital management [system]
- HRMS = human resource management system
You may be wondering, what’s the difference between these systems? Basically, they are synonyms for different levels of HR software that help to streamline common HR tasks. Not surprisingly, as you go higher up in price, you’ll gain more comprehensive features.
Typically, an HRIS will cover the core HR functions at the lowest cost, making it a great choice for a small business or startup operation. Another thing to consider when purchasing software is how scalable it is. Many tool providers offer the ability to add more modules over time, which is a budget-friendly way to hold off on paying for fancier features until you actually need them.
HCM software is also a very popular choice, as it often incorporates payroll along with core HR features. Having payroll data within your HR management system is a big time saver for HR professionals, and I say this based on personal experience. It’s no surprise then, that the HCM software market is big and getting bigger, with an expected value of $33 billion anticipated by 2024!
I hope this summary of the top-ranking HR management systems helped you get one step closer to finding the software solution you’ve been searching for.
Since HR management systems cover a lot of ground, you may also want to consider some more niche software systems, if you’re only looking to upgrade one element of your HR process.
Here are some other suggestions for HR management software with a more specific focus:
You may also want to pop over to our Crozdesk website, where you can dive deeper into 300+ software categories and compare your top choices side-by-side.
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