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Human resources can be a tough department to manage. Between hiring, onboarding, scheduling, benefits and compliance, there are dozens of responsibilities to navigate.
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 specialized HR software has become so popular. Businesses of all sizes are using these tools to improve efficiency and employee experience at the same time.
Here are the five best HR software options out there. I’ve reviewed each one in depth, and included a short buyer’s guide that highlights the key criteria you should use as you evaluate.
#1 – Namely Review — The Best 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 human resources information systems (HRIS) category. You’ll be able to manage all of your HR policies and procedures from the centralized platform.
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 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 Human Resources Information Software (HRIS)
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 human resources information software (HRIS), 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.
BerniePortal offers a free version, which helps with recruiting and applicant tracking. Paid plans start at $9 per employee per month if you sign up for a year, or $11 per employee if you pay month-to-month.
#4 – Workday Review — The 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 — The Best for Employee 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 pricing starts at $16 per user per month for the Basic plan. There is a minimum of ten users required. You’ll be able to start automating your HR workflows without writing a line of code.
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.
What I Looked at to Find the Best HR Software
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.
Every business can benefit from HR software. This statement holds true regardless of your company size or industry.
The five solutions recommended in this guide will be the best place for you to start your search:
- Namely — Best for employee self-service
- APS— Best for payroll
- BerniePortal — Best human resources information system (HRIS)
- Workday — Best for human capital management (HCM)
- Kissflow — Best for employee onboarding and applicant tracking
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 by assessing the criteria I laid out.
It won’t take long, and you can ensure that you are choosing an HR software option that will meet the challenges you face.