The Complete Guide to Best HR Software (2021)

In-depth research of the human resource software: what this software is, who uses it and why, how it works, which one is the best, how much it costs, and how to choose the right one.

HR Software - HR software guide illustration
Breakdown of the best HR solutions
Recruiting Applicant tracking Employee engagement Performance management Learning management Payroll Time clock
Purpose Manage recruitment tasks Track applicants that applied to your vacant job positions You handle a variety of employee engagement tasks Track the performance of employees and give appraisals Provide employees with learning opportunities Handle payroll Log employee work hours in compliance with timekeeping requirements
Usual features • Resume management
• Resume reviewing and storage
• Recruitment process management
• Employee referrals
• Candidate experience
• Interview scheduling
• Employee onboarding
• Reward-based system
• Progress tracking features
• Goal management
• Coaching tools
• Track mentoring and coaching activities
• Skills management
• Tests and assessments
• Course calendars
• Payroll processing
• Tax calculations
• Payroll compliance
• Time sheets
• Approved timesheets
• Project reporting
Best software • BambooHR
• Bullhorn
• Greenhouse
• Pinpoint
• Freshteam
• OpenCATS
• Hibob
• Bitrix24
• UltiPro
• Monday
• Sage HR
• AG5
• Lynda
• Academy Ocean
• Docebo
• Gusto
• Paylocity
• Manager.io
• Clockif
Best for small business Recooty Asana Culture AMP ClearCompany TalentLMS Wave Clockify
Starting price BambooHR starts at $6.19/user/month, Bullhorn at $99/user/month, Recooty starts at $29/user/month, no public pricing for Greenhouse Pinpoint costs around $6.700 per year, Freshteam starts at $75 (50 users) and Asana at $13.49/user/month, no pricing available for OpenCATS Hibob starts at around $7 per user per month, Bitrix24 starts at $19 per 2 users per month, no public pricing plans for UltiPro and Culture AMP Monday starts at $8/seat/month, AG5 starts at $242 p/month for up to150 users, no public pricing plans for Sage HR and ClearCompany Lynda $30/month, Talent LMS starts at $79 per month (40 users), Academy Ocean starts at $225 per year, no pricing plans for Docebo Gusto starts at $6/user/month (plus $19/month as a base), Paylocity - from $2 to $4/employee/month, Manager.io at $39/month for unlimited users, Wave offers two free plans Apart from its free version, Clockify starts at $9.99/workspace with unlimited users/month

What is HR software?

According to the Jobscan survey, around 98% of fortune 500 companies use Applicant tracking systems (ATS), a type of HR software for recruiting.

But, what is HR software? And what should you know about it?

In general, any software that helps you manage information about your employees, as well as handle HR-related tasks, may fall under the HR software category - this type of software automates human resources tasks that were previously always performed manually.

More specifically, the purpose of HR software is to help effectively manage employees, and automate that process through automated recruitment, onboarding, workforce management, time management, time scheduling, payroll, and human capital management.

Types of HR software

What software do HR people use?

Various HR professionals have various software needs, depending on the tasks they're currently performing - and these needs and tasks determine what software they'll use.

To manage recruitment tasks, they use Recruiting software

This type of HR software helps you post jobs and attract people to positions in your company.

The common features of Recruiting software include:

To track job applicants, they use Applicant Tracking Software (ATS)

This type of HR software helps you manage candidate sourcing, manage evaluation tasks, as well as oversee the hiring process from start to finish.

The common features of Applicant Tracking Software include:

To track how engaged employees are, they use Employee engagement software

This type of HR software helps you handle a variety of employee engagement tasks, including increasing sales, decreasing turnover, and improving training.

The common features of Employee engagement software include:

To track employee performance and give appraisals, they use Performance management software

This type of software helps managers write job profiles, describe expectations for the job positions, establish an objective that's aligned with company goals, and deliver assessments of employee work.

This type of software also aims to improve employee engagement by providing transparency, recognition, and feedback.

The common features of Performance management software include:

To provide employees with learning opportunities, they use Learning management software

This type of software allows companies to teach new skills and expand on the old skills of their employees, through quizzes, games, and other gamified learning methods.

The common features of Learning management software include:

To handle and calculate payroll, they use Payroll software

This type of software helps companies handle payroll before sending out invoices in accordance with current taxes and regulations, and helps them make sure their employees are paid what they're due, and on time.

The common features of Payroll software include:

There are a lot of different Recruiting, Applicant tracking, Employee engagement, Performance management, Learning management, and Payroll software around for you to choose from - and here are the best for each type.

Learn more: How to calculate payroll based on hours worked | Best free invoicing apps

What is the best HR software?

We've already listed the specifics for each type of HR software professionals use - so here's the best of the best for each category of HR software.

Bear in mind that this list only highlights the best uses of the listed HR software - most HR platforms can serve multiple types of HR software, so some software listed as "Recruiting software" may also be suitable "Applicant Tracking Software", etc.

Recruiting software

BambooHR

BambooHR is an onboarding and hiring tool. This app allows you to keep track of every stage of the hiring process and gather employee information in one place.

bamboohr

Key features?

Pricing and plans?

On their official website, you can only find info about two available plans (Essentials and Advantage), but no details about the price. According to Better buys, this is what you'll have to pay:

Who's it for?

For mid-sized businesses looking for a more efficient way to manage their workforce.

Also good as?

Compensation, performance management tool.

Bullhorn

Bullhorn is an app that will help you enhance your recruiter productivity and upgrade candidate experience. You can also integrate your Bullhorn account with email and LinkedIn, which makes recruiting much easier.

bullhorn

Key features?

Pricing and plans?

The pricing starts at $99 per user per month, although there aren't any details about prices on their official website. There are four available plans: Team, Corporate, Enterprise, and Enterprise Plus.

Who's it for?

For enterprise customers, while the price might be too high for small businesses.

Also good as?

A tool for approving employee's time and expenses, creating invoices.

Greenhouse

Greenhouse will help you find the right candidates, start a hiring process, and use data and reports. Plus, regardless of the size of your company, you can still use this tool and make it fit your company's needs.

greenhouse

Key features?

Pricing and plans?

Pricing depends on the company size and it's not listed on the website. You have to contact the Account Executive in order to get your price. There are three available plans: Essential, Advanced, and Expert.

Who's it for?

Companies of any size.

Also good as?

Hiring tool for distributed teams.

Applicant Tracking Software (ATS)

Pinpoint

Pinpoint is a tool for attracting new candidates, making the right selection for the company, and providing new team members with a personalized onboarding experience.

Pinpoint

Key features?

Pricing and plans?

Who's it for?

Mid-sized and large businesses.

Also good as?

Employer branding tool.

Freshteam

Freshteam is a tool that allows you to manage job openings, create resume screening, engage with your candidates, and make offers. Apart from onboarding options, Freshteam lets you manage employee data and take care of time off requests.

Freshteam

Key features?

Pricing and plans?

Who's it for?

Businesses of any size since there are four available plans.

Also good as?

Employee data management and time off approval tool.

OpenCATS

OpenCATS is an open-source web-based applicant tracking software that offers all the basic ATS features, from storing candidate details, resumes, contact history, to managing candidate pipelines.

OpenCATS

Key features?

Pricing and plans?

Who's it for?

Suitable for startups, agencies, SMEs, but also small and mid-size businesses.

Also good as?

Recruiting software.

Employee engagement software

Hibob

Hibob is an HRIS people management app. With this tool, you can take care of HR essentials, like analytics, reports, workflows, and employee benefits.

Hibob

Key features?

Pricing and plans?

On their official website, there isn't any info about available plans and pricing. You can only find the details about Hibob prices on other sites.

Who's it for?

For businesses of any size.

Also good as?

Payroll report tool.

Bitrix24

Bitrix24 is an employee engagement software that offers collaboration, communication, as well as better knowledge continuity management.

Bitrix24

Key features?

Pricing and plans?

Who's it for?

Bitrix24 is suitable for companies and small businesses, but also remote teams who'll value that they'll be able to collaborate and communicate from anywhere in the world.

Also good as?

Project management tool.

UltiPro

UltiPro is a cloud-based employee engagement software meant to help companies improve employee experience, by facilitating employee learning and development, as well as gathering insights on how satisfied employees feel with their work environment.

Ultipro

Key features?

Pricing and plans?

No public pricing plans, but you can request a demo.

Who's it for?

UltiPro is suitable for all industries, with companies who have 100+ employees - its easy configuration makes it perfect for non-technical users.

Also good as?

Payroll software.

Performance management software

Monday

Monday gives you an overview of employee performance in an organized visual interface, and its graphs let you easily set goals, as well as provide feedback to employees.

Monday

Key features?

Pricing and plans?

Who's it for?

Companies and teams of any size who value a visual approach to their performance management (and some other HR tasks).

Also good as?

Recruiting software, payroll software.

Did you know?

Learn more: How to track time in Monday

Sage HR

Sage HR is a performance management tool that also offers onboarding options and helps you automate your HR process.

Sage HR

Key features?

Pricing and plans?

On their official site, you can calculate your desired plan by choosing a number of employees and modules of your choice. There are six available modules:

Who's it for?

Companies of all sizes, since you can choose a plan according to the number of employees.

Also good as?

Overtime tracker and recruitment tool.

AG5

AG5 is easy-to-use use skill management software that replaces all Excel spreadsheets with a single, centralized, cloud‑based repository containing all the information about your personnel's skills.

AG5

Key features?

Pricing and plans?

Who is it for?

AG5 is mostly suited for HR and Operations Managers.

Learning management software (LMS)

Lynda (LinkedIn Learning)

Lynda is a learning management software that offers 10,000 expert courses on various useful subjects, such as accounting, design, IT, leadership, marketing, all divided into easily manageable playlists, videos, and exercise files.

Lynda

Key features?

Pricing and plans?

Who's it for?

Companies of any size interested in an all-inclusive learning management software, especially Design and Development teams (who can improve and update their skills through 600 software development, 700 web development, and 700 design courses).

Academy Ocean

Academy Ocean helps you train your new employees by proving them with all the vital information about the company in an interactive format. You can also organize quizzes and testings for your workers with ease.

Academy Ocean

Key features?

Pricing and plans?

Who's it for?

Businesses of all sizes.

Docebo

Docebo is a cloud-based LMS system and learning portal for employees, clients, and customers, which offers external training and personal course catalogs.

Docebo

Key features?

Pricing and plans?

Who's it for?

Medium to large enterprises.

Payroll software

Gusto

Gusto offers a straightforward and fast approach to handling payroll tasks, which allows you to handle payroll, benefits, compliance, as well as compensation for the workers.

Gusto

Key features?

Pricing and plans?

Who's it for?

Gusto Payroll is suitable for mid-sized businesses who want full tax support (at an affordable price).

Paylocity

Paylocity is a payroll and tax filing tool for a variety of businesses.

Paylocity

Key features?

Pricing and plans?

Who's it for?

Businesses of any size.

Also good as?

Recruiting and onboarding app.

Manager.io

Manager.io is a payroll manager that offers a variety of accounting features to help you streamline your payslips, accounting, invoicing, and everything related to payroll.

Manager.io

Key features?

Pricing and plans?

Who's it for?

Manager.io is most suitable for businesses looking for an easy approach to their payroll tasks, with basic features.

Also good for?

Various accounting tasks.

Learn more: How to get timesheet data into Manager.io

What is the best HR software for a small business?

As small businesses have fewer employees and smaller budgets, they need an affordable, easy-to-use HR software solution. Here are some you can consider.

Recruiting software

Recooty

If you're a small business owner, try using Recooty for your recruiting needs. With this app, you'll be able to publish job ads, review resumes, and schedule interviews.

Recooty

Key features?

Pricing and plans?

Who's it for?

For small businesses.

Also good for?

Applicant tracking system.

Applicant Tracking Software (ATS)

Asana

Asana is a project management tool that also has the ATS option.

Asana

Key features?

Pricing and plans?

Learn more: How to best track time in Asana

Employee engagement software

Culture AMP

Culture AMP aims to create an ideal employee experience. This tool is a perfect people and culture platform for your small business.

CultureAMP

Key features?

Pricing and plans?

Performance management software

ClearCompany

ClearCompany offers an efficient approach to employee performance reviews, managing competencies, planning and reviewing everyone's goals, as well as customizing your workflow, for even better employee performance.

Clear company

Key features?

Pricing and plans?

Learning management software

TalentLMS

TalentLMS offers small businesses customer or employee learning.

Talent LMS

Key features?

Pricing and plans?

There are five available plans. Free and Starter plans are suitable for small businesses.

Payroll software

Wave

Wave is a fully-featured payroll system that offers small businesses an automated payroll process, to help you manage vacations, benefits, and overtime, as well as quickly generate pay reports.

Wave

Key features?

Pricing and plans?

How to create a successful cover letter optimized for HR software?

When looking for a job, it's easy to overlook that a lot of companies rely on applicant tracking software to screen and select candidates - and this type of software has certain rules you need to play to if you want to be shortlisted for the job: