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Human resources can be a tough department to manage. From hiring to onboarding, employee scheduling, and HR compliance, there are dozens of responsibilities being juggled.
What if an employee wants to view an old paystub? How does someone access information about their vacation days or benefits?
Without the right technology, it’s a hassle for everyone involved.
That’s why HR software has become so popular over the years. Businesses of all sizes across every industry are leveraging these tools to reduce bottlenecks and improve workflows in their HR departments while simultaneously improving the employee experience.
Interested in getting HR software, but don’t know where to start? You’ve come to the right place.
The Top 5 Options For HR Software
- Namely — Best HR Software For Employee Self-Service
- APS— The Best HR Software For Payroll
- BerniePortal — The Best HRIS Software
- Workday — Best For Human Capital Management (HCM)
- Kissflow — Best HR Software For Onboarding and Applicant Tracking
How to Choose the Best HR Software For You
There’s no one-size-fits-all HR software. Products have evolved to meet the needs of businesses that face very different challenges.
Some companies need a system to recruit, hire, and onboard hundreds of people each month. Others just want something dependable for payroll and benefits.
You know your organization’s situation better than anyone else. Which capabilities are going to make the biggest difference for HR and employees?
Let’s walk through the major features of HR software, and how they can make a positive impact.
HR software with an employee self-service portal is a must-have in today’s day and age. This portal will give your staff access to crucial information, without having to call, email, or physically visit the HR department.
Want to access the employee handbook? Log in and look it up. Have questions about your benefits? It’s available in the portal. Need to request a day off? Just a few clicks away.
All of this information, and more, is available 24/7. So if one of your employees is sitting home on a Saturday night and wants to look at an old paystub, they don’t have to wait until 9:00 AM Monday morning to call HR.
As a result, everyone on your team will be more productive, and your HR staff won’t be wasting time answering questions all day.
The best HR software will have a free mobile app.
This app can be used on the employee side for the self-service tools mentioned above, but it’s also helpful from an administrative perspective. HR managers and other admins can complete tasks and view important information in real-time from anywhere. HR responsibilities won’t be tied to a physical office.
In some cases, you can even use these apps to communicate with your employees. They can opt-in for notifications delivered straight to their devices, which can reach them faster than an email.
Payroll and Benefits Administration
The vast majority of HR solutions will allow you to run payroll directly through the platform. This isn’t necessarily a make or break feature; it depends on your personal needs.
But since HR and payroll typically go hand-in-hand, lots of businesses look for an all-in-one solution for the two.
If you’re happy with your current payroll solution and don’t want to switch, that’s fine too. See if you can find an HR software that integrates with whatever you’re using for payroll. Your HR team and employees will like having access to everything from a single place.
Efficiency is the main concept behind using HR software. Nothing is more efficient than automating repetitive tasks.
Look for software that eliminates manual labor. For example, some HR tools will automatically track and calculate time-off requests, taxes, government filings, and more. Think about how much money you’ll save in labor hours if you can eliminate even just 5-10 hours per week on these types of tasks. At scale, the savings are astronomical.
Another way to narrow down your choices is by looking for software that fits the needs of your business size.
A small business with 15 employees won’t have the same HR needs as firm with 150 employees or an enterprise with 1,500 employees. It sounds simple, but so many companies overlook this aspect.
Larger organizations will have more complex HR needs that some software just won’t accommodate. On the flip side, small businesses usually won’t need all of the features offered by certain HR solutions.
The Different Types of HR Software
HR software is actually a pretty broad term. As you know, there are so many different aspects and components of human resources. Certain types of HR software have been developed to meet these specialized needs.
Here’s a brief overview of the main types of HR software available on the market today.
HCM stands for “human capital management.”
This type of HR software primarily focuses on how individuals are managed within a company in terms of systems and HR policies. Talent management is a large component of HCM software.
It’s common for HCM tools to have features for onboarding, performance management, salary planning, training, succession planning, benefits administration, and more.
Lots of HR professionals consider HCM software to be an advanced version of HR software.
HRMS stands for “human resource management system.”
In most cases, HRMS software will include lots of the HCM software features. But there are two characteristics that all true HRMS solutions have in common—payroll and TLM (time & labor management).
Not every HRMS software will have employee scheduling features, but many do. There are standalone software products for time & labor management that are commonly referred to as “workforce management” software. But these typically fall under the umbrella of HRMS.
Human resource information system—or HRIS for short—is a tool built for managing people, policies, and procedures.
HRIS software typically includes all core HR features. But this type of software will usually have solutions for absence management, benefits administration, recruiting, compensation management, workflows, self-service portals, training, employee development, and reporting.
Lots of this can be open for interpretation from software to software, but these are the core components you’ll likely find in an HRIS solution.
ATS software is an “applicant tracking system.”
This is a very specific type of HR software. In many cases, ATS software gets branded as a standalone product without core HR features. But with that said, lots of all-in-one HR solutions have features for applicant tracking.
ATS software is highly beneficial for companies who are recruiting and onboarding at scale. The software makes it easier for you to find top-level talent, qualify them, schedule interviews, and onboard new hires.
Larger businesses may have separate departments for HR and payroll. But in most cases, the two go hand-in-hand. Payroll is typically considered to be a component of HR. Some of you might already be using an online payroll provider.
Not every HR software has payroll features (although many do). And not every payroll software has every core HR feature.
This is another scenario where lots of payroll solutions are branded as standalone products from HR. But there are plenty of all-in-one HR solutions that include payroll processing capabilities. However, this is usually an add-on package.
#1 – Namely Review — Best HR Software For Employee Self-Service
Namely is an all-in-one solution for HR, talent management, payroll, and benefits. The platform makes it easy for businesses to improve their HR processes while remaining compliant. It’s trusted by 1,400+ organizations worldwide.
The software is actually branded as a “people operations platform.” It includes features for employee management, onboarding, talent management, recruiting, time and attendance, analytics, and more.
I’d say that Namely definitely falls into the HRIS category.
I like Namely because the software is designed to improve employee engagement. It gives your staff access to all of the HR information they could possibly need from an easy-to-use employee portal.
The software can be accessed from anywhere from the Namely mobile app. You can even use Namely to share company news, improve communication, and set up a company directory.
Namely’s core HR package comes with tools and features like:
- Performance and goal tracking
- Task lists
- Time off management
- Compliance database
- Employee self-service and workflows
- Custom fields
Then there are add-ons and extensions for things like payroll, benefits administration, recruiting, time & attendance, and managed services.
Overall, Namely is a good fit for midsize organizations.
#2 – APS Review — The Best HR Software For Payroll
The acronym “APS” actually stands for “Automatic Payroll Systems.” As this name clearly implies, payroll is their specialty.
But with that said, APS is not a standalone payroll software; it’s an all-in-one solution for HR and payroll alike.
In addition to payroll, APS has HR features for benefits administration, performance management, employee scheduling, recruiting, onboarding, compliance, employee self-service, and more. They also have industry-specific solutions for healthcare, restaurants, wholesalers, nonprofits, manufacturing, hospitality, financial services, and other unique categories.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the top benefits of using APS for payroll:
- Streamline tax compliance with accuracy, timeliness, and wage garnishment
- Automate your tax system to reduce your burden and risk
- Reduce time spent processing payroll with paycheck reconciliation
- Automate federal, state, and local tax filings
- Improve your efficiencies and reduce costs with paperless payroll processing
The self-service tools provided by APS are outstanding; on the employee end and administrative sides alike.
More than 2,000 businesses across different industries rely on APS. For those of you looking for an all-in-one solution for HR and payroll, APS should be at the top of your list.
#3 – BerniePortal Review — The Best HRIS Software
BerniePortal isn’t as well-known as some of the other HR solutions available on the market today. But that shouldn’t be a reason for you to pass up on considering it. In terms of HRIS software, BerniePortal really has everything you could possibly need.
For those of you who want to use technology to improve the total lifecycle management of your employees, BerniePortal should be at the top of your list.
BerniePortal was founded back in 2008, so they have over a decade of experience in the HR software space. The software has been deployed in 5,000+ HR departments in all 50 states, and it has 210,000+ active users.
Why BerniePortal? Let’s take a closer look at what this HRIS software has to offer.
- Attract and retain top-level talent with benefits administration
- Compliance, custom enrollment, and payroll reporting
- Improve productivity and engagement with seamless employee onboarding
- Collaborative hiring decisions with built-in applicant tracking features
- PTO tracking, time-off management, and custom policies
- Tools for time and attendance tracking with detailed reporting
- Mobile access with employee self-service tools
- Performance management and compliance features
You can even use BerniePortal for things like IRS filings. While the software doesn’t have built-in payroll features, it can seamlessly integrate with your existing payroll system.
Most of the BerniePortal features start at $5 per employee per month, with a $15 base fee.
#4 – Workday Review — Best For Human Capital Management (HCM)
Workday is a popular HR software with a unique twist. Every component of the tool is focused on finance. It helps you manage your HR processes while always keeping your bottom line in mind—all from a single platform.
The software is used by industry leaders in a wide range of categories. Some of the well-known companies that rely on Workday include Visa, Toyota, Salesforce, CE, Target, Charles Schwab, and Adobe.
Overall, Workday is pretty versatile. The software has solutions for human capital management, talent management, enterprise planning, payroll and workforce management, spend management, and more.
Workday is robust, but also really easy to use. You’ll benefit from features like:
- Automation to eliminate manual work and improve productivity
- Advanced analytics to guide decision making
- Improve communication and engagement
- Machine learning to identify employees’ skills
- Time tracking tools
- Compensation, payroll, and benefits administration
- Employee directories and self-service tools
The software can also adapt as your HCM needs evolve over time.
Another reason why Workday ranks so high on our list is because of its industry-specific HR solutions across a wide range of categories. Some of these include healthcare, government, hospitality, insurance, manufacturing, professional services, energy, and more.
#5 – Kissflow Review — Best HR Software For Onboarding and Applicant Tracking
Kissflow is one of my favorite tools for managing HR processes. It’s a top choice for businesses that want to improve the talent management aspect of human resources.
The software comes with features for applicant tracking, employee onboarding, attendance management, absence management, leave management, and employee offboarding.
With Kissflow, you’ll benefit from features and functionality like:
- Get open jobs in front of top-level talent at the perfect time
- Improve employee engagement
- Employee self-service tools
- 360-degree feedback and evaluations
- Customizable HR solutions
Kissflow is definitely designed for larger teams. Pricing starts at $690 per month, which includes 100 users. Enterprise rates with unlimited users start at $1,290 per month.
The downside of Kissflow is that it’s not a true all-in-one HR solution. It focuses on certain areas but lacks functionality for things like payroll. With that said, Kissflow does have a wide range of integrations, so you can sync it with your existing tools.
Every business can benefit from HR software. This statement holds true regardless of your company size or industry.
But before you finalize a decision, make sure you go through the process explained in this guide. Figure out what type of HR software fits your needs the best, then follow the methodology that I explained earlier.
The five solutions recommended in this guide will be the best place for you to start your search.