What is HR Software?

HR Software is a group of systems designed to streamline human resource management, in particular operations like recruitment, screening, hiring, and evaluation. HR Software is used by HR agencies and departments looking for talented and reliable performers, and offers an array of specific modules such as payroll management, time and expense tracking, attendance, and benefits management. There are also specialized programs that offer features such as fingerprint ID, self-service learning portals, and smart reporting. The leader in this category is BambooHR, but you should definitely check all of the systems listed next to it.

HR Software

Top 12 Most Popular HR Software

BambooHR reviews

Our Score 9.8

User Satisfaction 99%

BambooHR is the winner of our 2017 Best HR Software Award. It is a popular and reliable online HR software service designed for small and mid-sized businesses. Read Reviews

Freshteam reviews

Our Score 9.1

User Satisfaction 100%

Freshteam is the newest addition to the Freshworks productivity family, crafted as a compact package of core applicant tracking and recruitment CRM features. Read Reviews

Gusto HR reviews
Gusto HR

Our Score 8.8

User Satisfaction 97%

Gusto is an HR software leader that packs all essential HCM functionalities for successful onboarding and performance management in a modern, easy-to-use console. Read Reviews

Trakstar reviews

Our Score 8.8

User Satisfaction 100%

Trakstar is an easy to use online performance review platform with feedback, goal management, and succession planning features. Read Reviews

Zoho People reviews
Zoho People

Our Score 9.6

User Satisfaction 99%

Zoho People is the winner of our 2015 Best HR Management Award. It's a simple HR platform for employee management operations including records and time tracking. Read Reviews

Zoho Recruit reviews
Zoho Recruit

Our Score 8.9

User Satisfaction 99%

Zoho Recruit is the winner of our Customers' Choice Award for 2016. It's a cloud-based recruitment platform that is packed with customizable features. Read Reviews

OnPay reviews

Our Score 8.4

User Satisfaction 100%

OnPay is an award-winning solution taht combines the latest internet technologies to give you a simple yet robust alternative to high priced, traditional payroll service. Read Reviews

BizMerlin reviews

Our Score 8.0

User Satisfaction 100%

Winner or 2016 Rising Star award. HR management solution for small and medium teams that lets you efficiently hire, onboard, manage, allocate and retain your team members. Read Reviews

ClearCompany reviews

Our Score 9.5

User Satisfaction 100%

ClearCompany provides talent management software to help businesses find, hire, and manage talent. Read Reviews

iCIMS Talent Acquisition reviews
iCIMS Talent Acquisition

Our Score 9.0

User Satisfaction 100%

iCIMS Talent Acquisition is a software suite that enables organizations to use mobile, social, and video technologies to manage their entire talent acquisition lifecycle. Read Reviews

Lattice reviews

Our Score 8.4

User Satisfaction 99%

Lattice is a modern performance management system focused on helping people operations teams run their companies better. Read Reviews

APS reviews

Our Score 7.5

User Satisfaction 97%

APS offers an online payroll service that you can customize to fit your business requirements. Read Reviews

How To Choose The Best HR Software

HR software programs—also known as HR software platforms, HR information systems, human capital management software, or HR management systems—make managing a growing workforce more efficient. These software tools streamline and automate the traditional functions of the HR department of benefits administration, payroll, and personnel tracking. Still, choosing the best HR software for small business or a large enterprise can be a challenging experience, which is why we invite you to go through this guide and to familiarize yourself with the basics of the best human resources management software tools. You can also learn more about top 10 HR management software solutions from our comparison articles.

Get to know each product with free trial

It’s always a good idea to start your research of best human resources software with testing a fair number of free trial plans or demo offered by reliable HR software providers. You will also get a better grasp on what is HR software. It will save you some time and money because you will be able to experience the list of important features firsthand, do a comparison, and identify any possible issues. The best thing to do is to try services that currently have the highest SmartScore rankings and Customer Satisfaction Rating in our HR software reviews: Zoho People reviewsBambooHRZoho RecruitWorkableFinancialForce HCM and TribeHR. You can get details on the other leading apps in this category by reading our in-depth article on the top 10 HR management software.

Targeted Businesses

Regardless of their size, all businesses want a more cost-effective online performance and best HR software systems that can integrate easily with their software infrastructure in place. They also expect the system to be able to respond to employment challenges, which, once again, apply to all scales and industries. This is why the final beneficiaries of the best HR software can be:

  • Small businesses – An HR system is always welcomed to improve management efficiency as it integrates the HR function seamlessly in any other management aspect. Small companies can benefit from it to improve their decision-making process because they will have all the information they need to make the most of their talent and human resources.
  • Medium businesses – Medium businesses are exactly between starters and grown market leaders, which qualifies them as the ones having the least time to keep staff records for more important functions. They need an HR system to communicate with their employees, namely to provide them information and to answer inquiries to ensure everybody is on board.
  • Large businesses – One of the biggest challenges of every large business is to measure ROI, because it blocks most of their time and resources. They can be far more productive with a powerful HR system, because such can take over critical business functions and consequently reduce labour costs.

HR Software For Enterprises

Enterprises need advanced HR software tools to perform a variety of core functions, such as hiring, onboarding, benefit and payroll administration, and also to keep their business agile, and base decisions on accurate analytics. The way online HR platforms are designed nowadays, they can be used for assessment science, referral recruiting, online learning and performance management, skipping the clunky setup which gets even more painful as the company/organization grows in size. Needless to mention, large enterprises have vast and decentralized teams where recruiting and managing human capital can cost a fortune, if it wasn’t for a unified HR solution to handle that online.

What are Examples of HR Software?

  • Zoho People: a well-known member of the Zoho productivity suite that covers all employee management operations, empowered with a centralized database and employee self-service.
  • BambooHR: great HR program for small and mid-size businesses with an inbuilt Applicant Tracking System (ATS).
  • Workday: popular SaaS solution for large and global enterprises which unifies human capital management with payroll and finance management, and is a solid alternative to legacy ERP.
  • SuccessFactors (SAP): advanced cloud-based HR system with robust functionalities that allow you to augment your workforce and to stay ahead of competitors.
  • iCims Talent Acquisition: popular on-boarding platform with career portals that empowers companies to simplify and improve their hiring process.
  • Zoho Recruit: a cloud-based recruitment application that is packed with customizable features to help companies find the right candidates quickly.

You can get details on other widely used apps in this category by reading our article on the top 15 HR management solutions.

Types of HR Software

Industry experts divide the field of HR software into three main types:

  • Core HR. It focuses on the three fundamental functions of human resources management: benefits administration, personnel tracking, as well as payroll. Every business will require these basic functions once it has a good number of employees. Your business will need core HR functionality when, for example, manually doing the payroll and managing your employees using spreadsheets have become too burdensome and tedious a task.
  • Strategic HR. It expands your business by attracting and cultivating the best people, and better handling your workforce overall. Generally, these strategic HR applications provide a unique blend of applicant tracking and recruiting, performance review, and learning management functionality. This kind of software automates and streamlines these strategic processes to make sure that your company is using its employees as efficiently as possible, and at the same time ensuring that employees are continuously growing and developing—thus boosting employee satisfaction and retention rates.
  • Workforce management (Workforce administration). It refers to the range of software tools intended to efficiently schedule and monitor your workforce. These tools are best for organizations where employees are working in shifts, and include solutions to monitor time and attendance, track compliance with labor laws and generally include payroll functionality, or effectively integrate with other payroll software programs.

Of course, core HR, strategic HR, and workforce management functions overlap often. While best-of-breed solutions for specific functions per category are available, there are integrated suites available that boast across-the-board functionality.

Key Features of HR Software

Core HR

  • Benefits administration – handles employee benefits including paid time off, insurance policies on medical/dental/life, and 401k participation. Example tools: OmnipriseHRM, Triton HR, and Epicor HR.
  • Payroll – manages employee 401k contributions, salaries, bonuses, as well as health other deductions; calculates taxes; and cuts paychecks. Many solutions provide effective integration for direct deposit. Example vendors: Halogen, Tribe HR, and Vista HRMS.
  • Personnel tracking – centralizes employee information, such as contact information, SSN, past employment, as well as demographic information. Example tools: Sage HRMS, Lawson HR, and Ascentis.

Strategic HR

  • Employee evaluation – offers a centralized system where you or your supervisors can conduct and monitor reviews with their employees. Another term for this is performance review software. It features performance measuring, tracking, as well as goal management. Example tools: Empower by ECI, People-Trak, and Cornerstone CSB.
  • Applicant tracking systems (ATS) – gives you a centralized database that allows recruiters store applicant data and employment applications well throughout the application process. Its features include applicant status monitoring, candidate tracking, and effective integration with other HR applications. Many vendors likewise include on-boarding features, such as the ability to do background checks. Example tools: MarketRate, iCIMS, and NuViewHR.
  • Learning and development – provides a centralized hub to review new employee training as well as the ongoing skills development of your existing employees. Its features include curriculum and certification path definition, content authoring and management, as well as testing and reporting. Example tools: Halogen Talent Management Suite, SmartTeam, and Prosperity LMS.

Workforce Management

  • Time and attendance – helps businesses track employee attendance and absences. It also enables employees to clock in and out. Most solutions also monitor accrual and usage of PTO and sick days. Rules-based solutions provide alerts when your employees miss or do established amounts of work. Example tools: LaborVIEW, TimeForge Labor Management, and Kronos.
  • Employee scheduling – gives functionality for scheduling employee attendance and shifts to ensure compliance with your staffing needs. Tools can schedule staff across locations, departments, and projects, and give alerts to employees when the schedules become changed and when staffing levels become inadequate. Example solutions: Sage HRMS, Ascentis, and UltiPro.

Benefits of HR Software

HR management systems nowadays have reduced drastically the barriers for HR administrators to track the work of their employees, and they have facilitated the hiring process. Our detailed comparisons show that the following are some of the most distinctive benefits of HR management software:

  • Streamlined Administrative Tasks. Integrated HR suites’ main purpose is to replace the variety of standalone HR applications and to automate basic HR functions in a single system.
  • Improved Recruiting. If you want to scale your workforce easily, a best-of-breed and effective recruiting and applicant tracking tool might be the best option. Many solutions like this today can automatically post your job vacancies to job boards as well as social media outlets. Likewise, it can simplify candidate tracking and improve the on-boarding of new employees. With searchable and user-friendly databases of candidates and robust reporting features, your business can make the most of your candidate pool, while at the same time expanding your talent base.
  • Advanced Workforce. HR management systems help you ensure that your best employees are duly recognized and rewarded so they will stay with your business and continue to perform great work. The broad type of talent management tools can help you do that: from performance appraisal, gathering peer feedback, to employee training, and other development tools. Benefits of using such as tool include higher morale, increased retention rates, and better employee productivity.

Latest Trends

What can definitely be expected from HR software is to continue developing and presenting top notch features that help businesses go out of the box, and the most recent trends are already proving that:

  • Gamification. New HR managers pay specific attention to rewarding e-learning and outstanding performance, which is why they include Application Tracking Systems to evaluate success at the end of each year. Needless to say, ATSs are priceless for managers to distinguish successful from unsuccessful employees, and to make smart decisions for their companies.
  • Mobile HR. This is more of a necessity than a trend, knowing how decentralized teams can be nowadays. Mobile functionality grows and will continue growing, meaning that careers will be completely mobile-optimized, and the application process will happen exclusively via mobile devices.
  • Video Communication. The latest trend among HR software producers is to provide low-cost video production for their clients, namely to empower recruiters to perform video interviews and to decide based on them. Due the fact that more and more jobs are home-based, the trend is expected to qualify as one of the basic recruitment mechanisms in close future.

Potential Issues

HR systems may be the tool of the future, but that doesn’t mean there are no risks and disadvantages when it comes to buying one. These are the potential issues we would like you to pay attention to:

  • Errors. As powerful and smart as they are HRISs cannot be compared to human users, and can therefore make serious inaccuracies and errors that can affect the welfare of the entire business. At the worst scenario, wrong data entry could completely corrupt the workflow of your company.
  • Privacy Issues. While it is a great idea to track employees and to assign tasks online, HR systems impose a serious hazard of privacy breaches. To start with, there are laws that you have to comply with, a barrier technical-savvy and well-intended users will respect, but you can never be sure enough that unauthorized users or dishonest ones won’t use the information for private purposes.

History of HR Software

History of HR Management Software_Infographic_finale

List of HR Software Companies


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Our Score Read More

Our site uses our certified SmartScore™ approach to gather information about all the applications in the HR Software category to help you select the best possible application. It takes into consideration the following aspects: core modules, collaboration possibilities, custom elements, integrations with other services, how easy a software is to use and learn, customer support, security, support for mobile devices, scores in other media. At the moment, BambooHR is the leader in this category and we gave it the highest score in our tests. After extensive research and analysis it received the best results among its competitors and our experts strongly suggest that you include it as one of the options for your company.

User Satisfaction Read More

A summary of general user satisfaction with the products in our HR Software category based on our unique algorythm that finds customer reviews, comments and opinions across a broad set of social media sites in order to help you make an educated purchase choice.











Pricing Read More

Every vendor in the HR Software category will offer a different group of pricing packages for its app and each plan will include a varied group of elements. Below we list the overal pricing for the most affordable plan offered for each app. Please note that advanced features may have an extra cost.

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Devices Supported Read More

An overview of what type of devices and operating systems are supported by these B2B services in the HR Software category, including mobile platforms and web-based solutions.






Laguages Supported Read More

Find out what languages and countries are served by the popular B2B services in the HR Software category, including services intended for international markets and created for multi-cultural groups of employees.

Pricing Model Read More

Examine what pricing plans are provided by the vendors in the HR Software category to check which one matches your business preferences and budget best. Be aware that certain services can offer free or freemium accounts for you to try out first.


Monthly payment

One-time payment

Annual Subscription


Customer Types Read More

An analysis of what types of customers a given B2B platform in the HR Software category is designed for, from small businesses and non-profits to large enterprises.

Small Business

Large Enterprises

Medium Business


Deployment Read More

A summary of what styles of software deployement are supported by every B2B vendor in the HR Software category. Although almost all modern SaaS services are cloud-based certain solutions might offer an on-site deployment model too.

Cloud Hosted

On Premise

Open API

History of HR Management Software

In the software development industry, HR systems are known to assemble most of employees and team management functionality, track payrolls, compare individual performance, and administer benefits. Most of these systems nowadays are modern, standalone talent management services that go beyond traditional HR, but that’s not how they always looked. Their development can be traced back to 1970s’ employee lists, which were in fact the first predecessors of today’s comprehensive HRISs.

Back in the 1970s, technology consisted mostly of mainframe computers that couldn’t handle the complex operations of today, and most of employees’ management was still conducted on paper. Nevertheless, companies started thinking of how to manage payroll-related operations using computers, and printed their first official reports…

History of HR Management Software_Infographic_finale

Post by Alex Hillsberg