The Complete Guide to HR Software

What is human resource software, 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
• An index of career sites
• Interview tools
• Various analytic tools
• Reward-based system
• Progress tracking features
• Goal management
• Coaching tools
• Track mentoring and coaching activities
• Performance vault
• Support for mobile learning
• Tests and assessments
• Course calendars
• Payroll processing
• Tax calculations
• Payroll compliance
• Time sheets
• Approved timesheets
• Project reporting
Best software • Zoho Recruit
• Firefish
• Smart Recrtuiters
• OpenCATS
• Jobscore
• OneRecruit
• Bitrix24
• Peakon
• UltiPro
• Monday
• BambooHR
• Namely
• Lynda
• Adobe Captivate Prime
• Docebo
• Manager.io
• Gusto Payroll
• OnPay
• Clockify
Best for small business JIRA Asana Culture AMP ClearCompany TalentLMS Wave Clockify
Starting price SmartRecruiters free, and JIRA starts at $7/user/month OpenCATS and Asana free, Asana paid starts at $13/user/month Bitrix24 free, Peakon starts at $3.5/user/month BambooHR $6.19/user/month Adobe Captivate starts at $4/user/month OnPay starts at $36+$4/user/month Clockify free

What is HR software?

In total, about 75% of all talent managers and HR specialists use a form of human resource management system (like recruiting and applicant tracking software) - and 95% believe HR software has had a positive impact on their organization.

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

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 works in accordance 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 old skills of their employees, through quizzes, games, and other gamified learning methods.

The common features of Learning Management Software include:

To handle and caculate 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 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

Zoho Recruit

Zoho Recruit lets you streamline the hiring process from sourcing to initial candidate gathering, by keeping track of all resumes, shortlists, interviews, and other candidate notes you may require.

HR Software - Zoho Recruit

Key features?

Pricing and plans?

Who's it for?

Zoho Recruit is mostly suited for corporate HR specialists and staffing agencies.

Also good as?

Applicant Tracking Software

Firefish

Firefish is a recruiting software that offers the basic recruiting features, but also integrations with the usual job websites, as well as social and marketing channels HR professionals usually use to look for candidates.

HR Software - Firefish

Key features?

Pricing and plans?

Who's it for?

Firefish is suitable for professional recruiters looking for a straightforward solution to their recruiting efforts.

Also good as?

Applicant Tracking Software

SmartRecruiters

SmartRecruiters is an online hiring platform that lets users post jobs, review candidates, but also handle all recruiting tasks on the go, through a mobile app.

HR Software - SmartRecruiters

Key features?

Pricing and plans?

Who's it for?

SmartRecruiters is suitable for HR professionals who value an easy and fast approach to hiring and often have to work on the go.

Also good as?

Applicant Tracking Software

Applicant Tracking Software

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.

HR Software - 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

Jobscore

Jobscore is an HR software designed by recruiters (and not by software engineers) that offers basic ATS options, such as review and respond features, interviewing features, social recruiting features, as well as an easy approach to creating application forms.

HR Software - Jobscore

Key features?

Pricing and plans?

Who's it for?

Jobscore is suitable for companies who like to include all of their employees in the recruiting process, as all available plans offer access to unlimited users.

Also good as?

Recruiting Software

OneRecruit

OneRecruit is a simple web-based ATS software for e-Recruitment that lets you track, share, but also review and rate applicants.

HR Software - OneRecruit

Key features?

Pricing and plans?

Who's it for?

OneRecruit is suitable for businesses of any size looking for a simple applicant tracking software that offers the core basics.

Also good as?

Recruiting Software

Employee Engagement Software

Bitrix24

Bitrix24 is an Employee Engagement Software that offers collaboration, communication, as well as better knowledge continuity management.

HR Software - 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.

Peakon

Peakon offers a solution to measure and improve employee engagement, by letting you automatically collect feedback from employees, analyze it, and draw conclusions from it.

HR Software - Peakon

Key features?

Pricing and plans?

Who's it for?

Peakon is ideal for companies who employ 100 or more people, who wish to measure how satisfied their employees feel with their jobs (and how likely they are to stay in their positions) at an affordable price.

Also good for?

People Analytics

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.

HR Software - UltiPro

Key features?

Pricing and plans?

Who's it for?

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

Also good as?

Payroll Software

Performance Management Software

BambooHR

BambooHR is a Performance Management Software that offers a user-friendly approach to organizing information required by the HR department, managing feedback, and creating appraisals.

HR Software - BambooHR

Key features?

Pricing and plans?

Who's it for?

Businesses who employ less than 1000 employees, regardless of the industry, and who value a user-friendly approach to basic performance management features.

Also good as?

Applicant Tracking Software, Recruiting Software, Payroll Software

Namely

Namely is a cloud-based solution for performance management in the form of a single system that lets you manage your human talent, by tracking goals and conducting performance reviews.

HR Software - Namely

Key features?

Pricing and plans?

Who's it for?

Namely is mostly suitable for mid-size companies who value a straightforward approach to performance reviews.

Also good as?

Payroll Software

Monday

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

HR Software - 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

Learning Management Software (LMS)

Lynda (LinkedIn Learning)

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

HR Software - 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).

Adobe Captivate Prime

Adobe Captivate Prime offers a personalized learning experience and an easy approach to gamified learning.

HR Software - Adobe Captivate Prime

Key features?

Pricing and plans?

Who's it for?

Adobe Captivate Prime is most suited for companies who value a gamified approach to learning, as well as companies who are interested in a more specific course database.

Docebo

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

HR Software - Docebo

Key features?

Pricing and plans?

Who's it for?

Docebo is mostly suitable for mid-size to large companies, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises, who value more freedom in the choice of LMS features they need (and are willing to pay for it).

Payroll-Software

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.

HR Software - Manager.io

Key features?

Pricing and plans?

Who's it for?

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

Also good for?

Various accounting tasks

Learn more: How to calculate payroll based on hours worked | How to get timesheet data into Manager.io

Gusto

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

HR Software - Gusto

Key features?

Pricing and plans?

Who's it for?

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

Learn more: How to calculate payroll based on hours worked

OnPay

OnPay is an effective way for businesses to automate their payroll, tax filing, and other payment workflows.

HR Software - OnPay

Key features?

Pricing and plans?

Who's it for?

Small, mid-size, and growing businesses who allow and encourage employees to self onboard, and pull their own pay stubs.

Learn more: How to calculate payroll based on hours worked

What is the best HR software for a small business?

One survey that covered 321 small business owners claims that they spend about 4 billion hours on administration - but the right HR software can diminish this number.

As small businesses are smaller in the number of employees, and have smaller budgets, they need an affordable, easy-to-use HR software solution - and here are some you can consider:

Recruiting Software

JIRA

JIRA offers many project templates you can choose from, and one of the templates is the Recruitment Project Template.

HR Software - JIRA

Small businesses will be able to track their recruitment process in a Kanban view, by moving candidates across aptly named columns, depending on the progress they've made with them:

Learn more: How to best track time in JIRA

Applicant Tracking Software

Asana

Asana is a project management tool for task management.

HR Software - Asana

Small businesses can use Asana for tracking applicants by:

  1. Creating a customized project for it called “Applicant tracking” or “Candidate tracking”:
  2. Once you've created the board, create a template task you can duplicate for each candidate and later fill in with the right information.
  3. Attach a resume, or whatever files you need to the candidate's task.
  4. For each job position, create a custom field indicating candidate's hiring status (i.e. “finished task”, “phone interview”, “face-to-face interview”, “hired”, “not hired”) - and make sure you update the status regularly.
  5. Most importantly, select a project owner who'll manage the applicant tracking process.
Learn more: How to best track time in Asana

Employee Engagement Software

Culture AMP

Culture AMP aims to create a productive culture by providing employees with 4 types of surveys - identity, growth, sustainability and engagement.

HR Software - Culture AMP

By providing your employees with these surveys, you'll be able to collect, understand, and act according to the employee feedback.

This software handles the 3 key stages of employee engagement process - candidates, onboarding, and exit.

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.

HR Software - ClearCompany

Learning Management Software

TalentLMS

TalentLMS offers small businesses customer or employee learning, and you can import or export learning content through a drag & drop system, as well as further customize your content through the “Branches” option of the software.

HR Software - TalentLMS

Payroll Software

Wave

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

Learn more: How to calculate payroll based on hours worked HR Software - Wave

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:

How can a company benefit from HR software report?

HR software has several benefits for companies:

Minimizes paperwork and makes organization easier

Once all your employee management data is stored in automated software, it'll be easier to manage it - no more excessive paperwork and better organization will be guaranteed.

Saves time (and money)

You'll gather candidates, track them, measure their engagement or performance, as well as calculate payroll faster and more efficiently. Considering you'll turn over some of your work to AI machines and automate it, you'll save time and limit the resources needed for HR tasks, so you'll also likely reduce administration costs.

Easier to share information

Most HR software has a communication channel that allows you to post or view updates and news - you'll be able to notify your entire organization of any new information within your company in just a few clicks.

Easier to oversee employees

HR software which focuses on employee engagement and performance management helps you keep track of employee skills, goals, and progress.

Also, if there's a legal dispute, you'll have concrete proof that an employee was made aware of a certain practice now causing the dispute - if an employee is denying having seen an important legal document, you'll be able to check whether this is true with the help of HR software that has a communication channel. Most such software leave a trail that lets you follow communication happening among users, so that you know whether a communicated message was viewed or not.

Facilitates learning

HR software which focuses on learning (Learning Management Software) helps employees learn new skills of improve on their old ones, through a large number of available online courses.

These systems save money because you're “upgrading” your current personnel, instead of hiring additional personnel only to acquire these new skills.

Fewer errors (and costs)

We, humans, are prone to errors, and software, if programmed correctly, is more likely to avoid such errors, especially when handling repetitive tasks. For example, if you try to calculate payroll manually, you may make mistakes that lead to financial and legal issues within your company - which can be avoided or minimized with an automated payroll tool (although you'll still have to enter the correct data yourself first).

Easier to make better decisions

HR software shows all data in a straightforward and concise manner, and automates most of the processes, so it'll be easier for human recruiters to decide who they want to interview or hire, and how they can improve employee engagement and performance.

Clear overview of leaves and absences

Sick leaves, PTO, unpaid leaves, vacations, and breaks are all items that are prescribed as mandatory by law for your reports in most states, and the right HR software gives you a straightforward overview of absences and leaves, and other data you need.

Enable communication and collaboration for remote teams

HR software works as a communication network, where everyone has access to vital information, explanations, and resources, so your company can limit redundant communication and be more efficient. This is especially true of remote teams who cannot collaborate and communicate in person.

How much does HR software cost?

As seen in the previous sections of this guide, the pricing for HR software varies depending on its features, but also depending on the specific type of HR software:

Some HR Software offer free plans, others disclose pricing information only after you contact the software team, and some offer a fixed yearly price.

Most, however, form their prices on the number of users, and each user pays a monthly fee. Or, each team (with a preset or unlimited number of users) pays a monthly fee.

Payroll software stands out, as it usually requires a base monthly fee alongside the price/user/month system (and the monthly base fee is determined by the region).

Recruiting software pricing

Applicant Tracking Software pricing

Employee Engagement Software pricing

Performance Management Software pricing

Learning Management Software pricing

Payroll Software pricing

How to make the business case for HR software?

In the end, once you've realized the importance and usefulness of HR software, the next question you need to ask is: How do you convince the company's management that you need HR software?

There are several points you need to consider to make the case for HR software:

Know your audience

Chances are you'll be pitching the case for HR software to the company's CEO or board of directors, so think about their objectives and how the current situation in your company (where you manage your employees without an HR software), is unfavorable to their objectives.

Know your supporters (and your detractors)

Chances are that some people from your company or team will see the benefits of HR software early on, and you can turn to these people to help support you.

Chances also are that some people will be dead against your proposal right from the start - but this is usually due to a lack of understanding of the benefits of HR software.

Recruit the supporters to help you make your case, and talk to the naysayers first, to help them understand the benefits of your proposal.

Identify and explain the main problem

Is employee engagement low at your company? Is there currently no effective way to measure employee performance? Explain why this is the case, and how the right type of HR software can help you.

Explain your proposal

State the objectives of your proposal, and how the subject of your proposal (type(s) of HR software you're advocating for) can solve the company's problems. Explain and highlight the benefits using such software will bring.

Be clear about the basic facts

Apart from the benefits, the next thing your management will be interested to hear is the price and flexibility of the pricing plans of the type of software you're recommending. Do your research, and propose a list of possible cost-effective software with features you need - and then consider together what's the best solution for your company.

Time Clock & Timesheet Software

Companies use Time Clock & Timesheet Software to log employee work hours in compliance with DCAA and FLSA timekeeping requirements - and use this data to handle payroll.

This type of software lets your employees track the time they spend working, on paid time off (PTO), vacations, sick leave, breaks, and other activities. It also lets you track their attendance at work.

The common features of Time Clock & Timesheet Software include:

Clockify

Clockify is a free timesheet app and time card calculator that lets you clock in your time, and then calculate payroll.

How it works?

You define projects and tasks which employees work on. Then, all an employee has to to is open the online timesheet, select what they've worked on, and enter time for the corresponding day.

HR Software - Time Clock & Timesheet Software Clockify - timesheet

Later, you can run a report for any time period you wish, and the software breaks down all the time by employee and project, and calculates pay (or cost) according to each person's hourly rate.

HR Software - Time Clock & Timesheet Software Clockify - time report

Key Features?

Pricing and plans?

Who's it for?

Clockify is suitable for freelancers, small businesses, and teams of any size who want to easily track their time, fill out online timesheets, and have their billable hours automatically calculated for payroll.

Learn more: PTO tracker | Timesheet app | Attendance tracker | Time clock app | Calculating payroll HR Software - Clockify app works for web, Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android