Software Reviews

7 Best HR Software and Tools of 2020 (Ranked and Reviewed)

7 Best HR Software and Tools of 2020 (Ranked and Reviewed)

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In today's highly crowded marketplace, smart businesses seek competitive advantages wherever they can find them.

A company's employees can make a big difference in coming up with business ideas, helping companies be more efficient and productive, as well as creating the best customer experience.

High performing companies have high performing staff, therefore human resources play a key role in achieving a competitive advantage by maximizing the human capital in a company.

The idea of streamlining human resources through technology is not new, but with a wider variety of options than ever before, more companies of various sizes are enjoying benefits from HR software.

Many of these programs offer customizable and flexible solutions to meet any organization's needs and budget.

What is the Best HR Software?

The best HR software is designed with versatility in mind, so it can grow with your business. You can add features as you need them, redesign workflows, and increase employee record capacity, all of which help you more efficiently manage growth.

Picking the software that's the best fit for your business depends in part on your size, needs, and budget.

For small to midsize businesses, you can't go wrong with these top 7 HR software solutions.

1. BambooHR.

BambooHR is a cloud-based human resources software service primarily for small and midsize businesses. It offers simple-to-use automation and solutions to manage all parts of the employee lifecycle. BambooHR has won several awards, and over 16,000 organizations use the software, including Vimeo and Reddit.

Key Features

  • Applicant and training tracking
  • E-signatures to replace paper-based systems
  • Time-off management
  • Performance tools
  • Easy reporting
  • Mobile app
  • Email integrations
  • Document management


  • Automation tools that are accessible in several languages and multiple currencies
  • Easy and intuitive interface
  • Mobile app to manage things out of the office
  • Customization services
  • Role-based access to information
  • Robust reporting features


  • Lacking in benefits administration features compared to rival solutions
  • Doesn't have a viable payroll solution yet
  • Must get a pricing quote


  • Pay-per-employee monthly pricing; must contact BambooHR for a quote

2. Cezanne HR.

Another cloud-based online HR software, Cezanne HR includes a suite of integrated modules. It caters to the needs of small to midsize businesses with an array of highly configurable modules. Cezanne HR is especially useful for companies in more than one country.

Key Features

  • Customizable; you pick the modules you need
  • Global capabilities
  • Multiple language support
  • Embedded workflow
  • Mobile app
  • Smart tools for improved productivity


  • New features include e-signatures, enhanced document management, and report scheduling
  • Integrated benefits and payroll
  • The main dashboard has different views for managers and employees
  • Versatile scalability


  • Initially, it can seem a bit overwhelming and complex to use
  • It can take a long time for full integration
  • User experience not as smooth as some competitors


  • Starts at $200/month

3. Kronos Workforce Ready.

Kronos offers three distinct suites: Workforce Ready, Workforce Dimensions, and Workforce Central. Workforce Ready is a cloud-based solution for small to midsize businesses that combines workforce management with human capital management (HCM) capabilities. Customers include Kansas State University and Mountain America Credit Union.

Key Features

  • People analytics
  • Benefits administration
  • Performance management
  • Compensation management
  • Compliance
  • Scheduling
  • Payroll
  • Mobile app


  • Highly configurable
  • Distinct user levels for system admins, managers, and employees


  • May be complex to use for some
  • Could be difficult to implement for small businesses that don't have a dedicated HR manager or staff
  • Smaller companies (less than 100 employees) must buy through third-party partners


  • Begins at $6 per employee per month

4. Namely.

Namely is a comprehensive human resources, payroll, and benefits cloud-based solution tailored for small to midsize businesses. Its customizable software is used by more than 400 companies, including Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD) and The Motley Fool.

Key Features

  • Wide range of customizations
  • Employee Engagement
  • Onboarding
  • Talent Management
  • Benefits Administration
  • Payroll
  • HR Compliance Database
  • Analytics


  • Easy to use
  • Customizable; customers have almost total control over how they want the software to look and work
  • An abundance of features that cater specifically to small business needs


  • More expensive than many competitors
  • Compensation section feels limited in tracking salary changes after performance reviews
  • Customizability can add days or weeks to implementation


  • Beginning at $12/employee per month

5. SAP SuccessFactors.

A cloud-based HR software that offers end-to-end solutions and automation, SAP SuccessFactors is designed to meet the requirements of enterprise-class organizations as well as small to midsize businesses. Some of SAP SuccessFactors' customers include the San Francisco 49ers and NPC International, the world's largest Pizza Hut and Wendy's franchisee.

Key Features

  • Core HR and Payroll
  • Built-in LMS tool
  • An integrated suite of tools
  • Recruiting and onboarding
  • Learning and development
  • Performance and compensation
  • Workforce planning and HR analytics
  • Mobile app


  • Good feature set for small to midsize businesses
  • Setup wizard and video tutorials
  • Robust performance tracking features
  • An internal talent search feature


  • Costs more than competing small business human resources (HR) software
  • Long integration period
  • Lacks add-on options offered by competitors
  • Customization is quite a challenge
  • No benefits administration


  • $8 per user per month or as an annual subscription starting at $85 per employee
  • Quote-based for enterprise solutions

6. WebHR.

WebHR is a cloud-based HR software that helps businesses manage every aspect of personnel management. It offers a wide array of people management functions but doesn't go into the same depth that can be found in other software. Customers include Infiniti, Nissan, and Massage Envy.

Key Features

  • A wide array of management functions and modules (time and attendance, payroll, benefits, recruitment, onboarding, performance and goals, forms & e-signature, etc.)
  • Available in 30 languages
  • Payroll can be calculated in dozens of currencies
  • Built-in messenger for collaboration
  • Mobile app


  • Offers most features that a small to midsize business (SMB) needs to manage and track staff
  • Free service for small businesses (only up to 5 employees)
  • Relatively easy to set up
  • Settings allow restricted access to certain IP addresses
  • Biometric availability


  • Free version's features are limited
  • Limited choice of built-in templates
  • For performance tracking, you must either upload existing forms or build new ones from scratch, which is time-consuming
  • UI could use some updating


  • Begins at $2/employee per month for up to 10 employees
  • Modular-based pricing for plans, and as you add modules the price increases

7. Zenefits.

Zenefits is a cloud-based all-in-one platform for companies to manage their human resources, with a particular focus on helping with health insurance coverage. Customers include Pac-12 and over 11,000 other businesses in 35 industries.

Key Features

  • Mobile app
  • Built-in compliance
  • Applicant tracking and onboarding
  • Payroll add-on
  • Benefits management
  • Business intelligence (BI) reporting
  • Time & scheduling
  • Partnerships with Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, and Slack


  • Syncs seamlessly across benefits, HR, and payroll
  • Good user experience
  • Employee mobile app
  • Comprehensive benefits administration and plan-building functionality
  • Thorough employee records


  • May be overwhelming for small businesses
  • Mobile app doesn't support all admin tasks


  • Their base plan starts at $8/month per employee

Why Use HR Software?

HR software is a digital solution for managing an organization's daily human resources tasks and processes.

It adds automation to processes that are otherwise carried out manually, so they can be completed more accurately and efficiently. This automation is especially beneficial for tasks that are typically time-consuming or labor-intensive, like paperwork and manual record keeping.

What Are the Benefits of HR Software?

Implementing software to streamline various HR processes can free up HR staff and managers from spending their time on repetitive, low-impact administrative tasks so they can focus on more productive, profitable efforts.

And the right HR software can assist your company in better managing your employees.

Other benefits include:

  • Streamlined processes
  • Improved efficiency of the HR team
  • Reduced errors
  • Improved employee experience
  • Continuous feedback
  • More accurate analytics
  • Better regulatory compliance
  • Improved risk mitigation
  • Streamlined employee data management

What Are the Types of HR Software?

HR software plays a vital role in keeping your business on course. Not all businesses will need every type of software because what you require largely depends on the size of your organization.

For example, a startup could use payroll software more than a learning management system, whereas a larger organization may require several software features to streamline more complicated procedures.

The various solutions can be grouped into categories.

1. Benefits.

  • Payroll - Paying employees, direct deposits, checks, tax compliance, and W-2 forms
  • Benefits administration - Health insurance, paid time off, retirement accounts, and compliance
  • Compensation management - Pay, bonuses, incentive programs, commission, and salary planning

2. Recruiting.

  • Job board posting - Post and track open jobs to multiple online job boards or create your own job board website.
  • Applicant tracking - Source job applicants and track candidates from the interview through the hiring process.

3. Performance.

  • Performance appraisal - Track and manage employee reviews; may include goal tracking, learning and development plans, and compensation planning.
  • Employee recognition - Automate and formalize processes for recognizing high-achieving employees.

4. Training.

  • Learning management - Training courses and material for employees, allows employers to track their progress and award certifications.
  • Course authoring - Develop your own training materials.
  • Onboarding - New employee paperwork, training new recruits, introducing them to the new company's culture and brand.

5. Workforce Management.

  • Attendance tracking - Manage paid time off, vacation, and sick days.
  • Employee engagement - Manage health and wellness programs, survey employees, and create retention plans.
  • Employee scheduling (hourly employees) - Track, assign and adjust which employees are scheduled to work and when.
  • Time and expense - Track invoices, time spent on projects, and expenses.

What Should You Look for in HR Software?

Different programs offer different features, but here are some key ones to look for when considering which HR software to use for your business.

1. Recruitment Automation.

With HR software, you can add some order and efficiency to keeping track of all the time-consuming and often messy parts of the recruitment process. Create job boards from templates, track applicants, and simplify shortlisting.

Save even more time by automating interview invitations, interview feedback documentation, and generation of new employee records before onboarding.

2. Onboarding.

Creating a consistently good first impression for new employees can be a tedious and stressful task. HR software allows businesses to automate the onboarding process for new hires.

It facilitates better coordination across departments to get the new employee informed and up and running and easily creates new employee records, contracts, and letter/email templates.

3. Benefits Administration.

Managing benefits is a core element of human resources that can quickly take complicated and complex turns. HR software makers do more than just streamlining the process.

Many software packages also provide benefits administration features that can vary from simply managing employee enrollment to offering different benefit plans.

4. Scheduling and Shift Planning.

The software can use time-off requests to coordinate work schedules within departments to ensure adequate employee coverage over the workweek. This can result in greater productivity and fewer staff shortages. At the same time, the program can factor in your organization's rules and policies to automatically calculate overtime and time owing.

5. Performance Management.

HR software can help your team streamline performance management while eliminating human error and biased scoring patterns.

You can set up employee performance appraisal reminders for managers and employees, along with automatically collecting and collating feedback and objective scores. This makes it much easier and faster to report on team performance.

6. Leave Management.

When it comes to a leave management system, HR software can also save a lot of time for both employees and managers. Employees can request leave online and managers can then digitally authorize it. This speeds up the process for all parties.

7. Employee Exits.

In many ways, the exit process can be almost as time-consuming as the onboarding process. The software can automatically archive and store records, create template letters and forms to aid with the exit processes, and manage and report on insights from exit interviews.

These features can help your organization address employee dissatisfaction with the goal of reducing turnover.

Summary - Take Advantage of HR Software.

Ultimately, choosing the best HR software for you will depend upon your business needs, and which HR processes aren't already covered by other solutions. But with so many options, why not start the new decade with software that makes your life-and business-run smoother?

Recommended Reading on site: For more software reviews, check out my guides to the best project management software and the best CRM software to use this year.


Guest Author: This post was written by Nathan Richardson, SEO Analyst at BambooHR


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