The Best HR Software for Small Business

HR software isn’t one-size-fits-all. But the best HR solutions for small businesses will provide robust tools for hiring, onboarding, and managing your team all with a price tag that won’t break the bank.

We’ve put together a handy guide to compare all the best small business HR software to help you make the right choice for your growing business.

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1. Gusto – Best all-in-one HR software for small business

Overview

Gusto tops our list for best all-in-one HR software for small businesses with a wealth of easy-to-use, people-first features and fully integrated functionality. Their intuitive interface simplifies even the most complex tasks, and their suite of hiring tools together with a full slate of team management tools elevate HR to enterprise level even for startups and small businesses.
All of Gusto’s tools feel designed with humans in mind, easily handling the full employee lifecycle from recruiting and onboarding, to engagement and growth, to an employee’s last day. Gusto’s pricing is fully transparent, and the large majority of their powerful HR tools are available on their mid-range Plus plan. Overall, they offer more functionality at a better price, winning them the top spot.

Robust Hiring Tools

Gusto’s suite of hiring tools help them stand out from competitors who offer similar functionality with a bigger price tag. Integrated ATS (applicant tracking system) custom offer letters, and onboarding checklists all come included in the Plus plan.

Employee Self-service

Employee self-onboarding makes it easy to upload documents, e-sign contracts, and gives employees lifetime access to paystubs, W-2s, and more. Employees can manage benefits, clock in and out, request time off, and access training easily from anywhere.

Fully Integrated

Having a single system to handle hiring, employee onboarding, vacation time, sick days, performance management, and benefits administration that seamlessly syncs to payroll—and automatically handles taxes and compliance—reduces your admin burden and streamlines your tech stack while saving you money.   Employees can clock in and out with Gusto, request PTO and check their balances, and managers can easily review and approve timesheets and time off requests. Every time you run payroll, all federal, state, and local taxes are automatically calculated, filed, and paid along with benefits deductions, workers’ comp, and PTO.

Benefits Administration

Offering benefits is often seen as cost-prohibitive for small businesses. But Gusto offers unique no-cost, low-cost and premium benefits options that make it possible for businesses of any size to build right-sized offerings that can grow as they grow. 

Options include free financial planning tools, health reimbursement plans, 401(k)s, 529 savings, and commuter benefits, along with traditional medical, dental, and vision, Flexible Spending and Health Savings Accounts (FSAs and HSAs), life and disability insurance, and more.

Unlike most providers, benefits administration is included at no extra charge in all of their plans, and employees can self-register for the plan they want to further reduce admin. 

Team Management

With company org charts and handbooks, employee happiness surveys, birthday reminders, performance management, and integrated learning and professional development options, Gusto’s people-first team management tools are built to keep teams engaged and on track. 

Built-in Compliance & Reporting

Gusto’s built-in compliance means you can hire new team members in all 50 states while easily staying compliant with overtime, breaks, and minimum wage. FUTA and SUI payments are calculated and paid automatically. They have AI-powered reporting options for everything from labor and workforce costing to custom payroll reports, and compliance checklists and automated workflows save even more time. For even more robust compliance support, dedicated support & HR resources come included with the Premium plan or as an add-on to their Plus plan.  

Key Features

  • Seamlessly integrated payroll, HR, and benefits
  • Automated timesheets
  • Seamlessly integrated payroll, HR, time tracking, and benefits
  • Next-day/2-day direct deposit
  • Robust time tracking tools 
  • Automated compliance and new-hire reporting in all 50 states
  • Support for international contractors in 120+ countries; global payroll currently being rolled out
  • Integrated ATS, custom offer letters, and employee onboarding checklists
  • Built-in background checks through Checkr
  • People-focused tools including org charts, birthday reminders, employee happiness surveys and insights, goal tracking, performance reviews, and professional development options
  • Dedicated support from certified HR experts available
  • Hundreds of software integrations  

Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Intuitive, easy to use interfacePremium benefits only available in 37 states + Washington, DC
All-in-one solution for payroll, time tracking, benefits and HRSimple plan includes only the most basic HR tools
Transparent pricing, no hidden feesMobile app lacks full functionality
Extensive payroll, HR, time-off and workforce costing reports
Robust people management tools
Great customer service; dedicated HR support available
Hundreds of software integrations included with all plans

Pricing

Gusto offers three pricing plans, with the Simple plan starting at $40 per month plus $6 per person per month. The Simple plan lacks the more powerful HR tools like their applicant tracking system and performance and team management tools, but it still comes loaded with basic support for hiring and onboarding as well as benefits administration.  

Plus plans start at $80 per month plus $12 per person per month and include the full suite of hiring, onboarding, and team management tools. Plus plans also come loaded with popular features like next-day payroll and Gusto’s integrated time tracking. 

Dedicated support from certified HR pros along with compliance alerts is available only with the Premium plan or through the HR add-on at $8 per person per month.  

Premium plans are priced exclusively, and include everything Gusto has to offer with no hidden monthly fees. For more info on Premium pricing, contact their sales team today

Free Trial? Yes, Gusto is free until you run your first payroll.

Free Version: No. 

Transform your HR processes with Gusto, a platform that’s already the choice of over 300,000 businesses.

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2. Deel – Best HR software for global payroll & compliance

Overview

The future of work is global, and Deel makes it easy to hire and pay your team in more than 150 countries around the world. Their impressive suite of international support includes global payroll, contractors, hiring, self-service onboarding, compliance, and benefits. The best part is you can pay all of your team members around the world—whether contractor, full-time, or EOR—with a single payment.  

In 100+ countries where your business already has an established entity, they offer global payroll services. If you don’t have an entity, you can take advantage of their Employer of Record (EOR) service. For hiring international contractors, they provide compliant local contracts to make sure you’re staying within local labor laws as well as support for local taxes. They also offer visa assistance in more than 25 countries. 

Deel offers a respectable suite of HR tools including global background checks, time-off management, expense reporting, and bonuses. Onboarding with Deel is one of their strongest assets, simplifying what can be a painful process for new hires around the world. Additional people tools include an employee directory, company org chart, secure document storage, and global reporting for stats like churn and retention, along with employee pulse surveys, 1-on-1 check-ins, and referral incentives for employees. The best part is, HR tools are completely free for companies with fewer than 200 people.

As far as benefits are concerned, it’s difficult to know what kind of benefits they offer and where. Presumably you’ll need to speak with sales to figure out what kind of packages they offer in the countries where you’re looking to hire. 

One downside is that Deel’s pricing can start to add up, especially for EOR services, and at some point it makes more financial sense to open your own entity. But for small businesses and startups especially, using Deel for global payroll and contractors is a no brainer.  

Key Features

  • Contractor payments in 150+ countries and global payroll and EOR in 100+ countries
  • Localized benefits administration
  • Multiple payment options including bank transfer, PayPal, Payoneer, and crypto 
  • Immigration and visa support in 25+ countries
  • Global background checks
  • WeWork all access pass
  • HR package includes onboarding, time-off, document storage, and expense management, along with reporting and retention tools (free up to 200 people)

Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Seamless integration for domestic and international employees, contractors, full-time and part-timeLimited integrations
Best-in-class onboarding processContractor misclassification protection only available for enterprise clients
Free HR tools for businesses with fewer than 200 employeesExpensive for international contractors compared to other platforms
Great, user-friendly interfaceNo transparent pricing for payroll or visa assistance
24/7 customer service via chat, email, and phoneUnclear what kind of benefits administration they offer

Pricing

Deel prices their services based on which kind of global hiring you need. For their EOR service, it costs $599 per employee per month, which is in line with industry standards. Their international contractor payments are pricey at $49 per month, but this includes compliance, taxes, and misclassification protection that more affordable providers don’t offer. However, contractor misclassification protection is only available for enterprise clients. For global payroll in countries where you operate your own entity, as well as for immigration and visa support, you have to contact sales for pricing.

Optional add-ons include device and equipment management, benefits administration, and WeWork workspaces.

Free Trial? You can set up an account and explore features at no cost. You’ll only be charged when you hire and pay global workers

Free Plan: No.

Learn more about Deel

3. Justworks – Best PEO for Small Businesses

Overview

Justworks is one of the most affordable PEO options out there, and comes with support for payroll, tax filings, onboarding, PTO management, and compliance along with low-cost benefit options like life and disability insurance, health & wellness, commuter benefits, and financial perks. They also offer traditional benefits like medical, dental, and vision, but these are only included with their higher-tier plan. 

Whether onboarding new hires or assigning admin permissions to users with different job titles and levels of seniority, Justworks’ software is highly rated as easy to use, and their customer service responds quickly and is available 24/7.  They also recently released a mobile app to allow your employees to easily access the data they need.    

Justworks is one of the more affordable PEOs on the market, but they achieve this by paring down some of their offerings. Their HR suite includes e-signing, org charts, employee handbooks, new hire compliance, onboarding, and PTO policy management, but doesn’t provide hiring tools. They do offer an integration with Greenhouse’s applicant tracking system, but you’ll have to pay extra. Time tracking also isn’t included, and Justworks Hours costs an additional $8 per user per month. 

For smaller businesses looking to take complex HR and compliance tasks off their plate, Justworks is an affordable option that can grow as you grow your business. But for larger businesses with money to spend, there are more robust PEOs out there.  

For medium-sized businesses looking for a more robust suite of hiring tools, check out TriNet Zenefits instead. 

Key Features

  • Full service PEO
  • Unique, low-cost options for commuter, health & wellness, and financial benefits
  • New hire compliance in all 50 states
  • Self-service employee onboarding
  • E-signing and secure document storage
  • Flexible admin permissions
  • Highly rated customer service 
  • Mobile app 
  • International contractor support (rolling out EOR services soon)

Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Transparent pricingTime-tracking app costs extra
Affordable for smaller businesses with the option to growOffering traditional benefits nearly doubles the monthly base price
Highly rated, user-friendly interfaceFewer HR tools than some other PEOs
24/7 customer service on phone, email, chat, Slack, or SMS
Unique, low-cost benefits available

Pricing

Justworks has two pricing tiers: Basic and Plus. The Basic plan costs $59 per employee per month up to your 50th employee, where it drops down to $49 per employee per month. This includes everything Justworks offers save for traditional benefits and their time tracking app. The Plus plan jumps up to $99 per employee per month ($89 from your 50th employee onwards) and includes traditional benefits like medical, dental, vision, COBRA, and access to HSAs and FSAs.   

Free Trial? Yes, 14 days.

Free Plan: Yes.

Learn more about Justworks

4. ADP – Best HR software for mid-sized businesses

Overview

ADP is a behemoth in the space and offers two payroll and HR solutions for small- and medium-sized businesses: ADP Run for businesses with fewer than 50 employees and ADP Workforce Now for businesses with 50–999. ADP Run includes payroll, onboarding, and reporting features, while ADP Workforce Now also includes retention tools like employee engagement and development. They also offer a full-service PEO option, ADP Total Source. 

While ADP Run is a highly rated platform, and includes hiring and onboarding tools, its lack of employee engagement and retention tools puts them at a significant disadvantage. It’s primarily a payroll tool with a few extra HR functions, and their pricing puts them out of reach for many. For this reason, we don’t recommend it for startups or smaller businesses. For businesses with more than 50 employers, however, their Workforce Now packages provide a robust solution for managing teams.

ADP consistently tops lists of best HR software, likely because their list of features is so long. Workforce Now offers everything any team might need to manage HR, payroll, benefits, and more, along with over 700 integrations. Best of all, you can build a package that includes only the services you need.  

The only questions are: how much does it cost, and is that included in the plan I have? Getting the answer requires reaching out for a custom quote.  

Key Features

  • Fully integrated HR, payroll, benefits, and time tracking
  • Over 700 software integrations available
  • Mobile app
  • Every HR, time, and people tool imaginable
  • Features siloed based on # of employees
  • Highly rated payroll tool

Pros and Cons

ProsCons
HR Outsourcing and PEO options availableSoftware feels clunky and dated
Robust options for businesses with 50999 employeesSlow customer service
Tons of products and features for maximum scalabilityPricing is not transparent and difficult to piece together
No employee retention tools or benefits administration available in small business packages

Pricing

ADP’s pricing tiers are confusing at best. For businesses with fewer than 50 employees, they offer 4 pricing tiers: Essential Payroll, Enhanced Payroll that includes wage garnishment, unemployment, background checks and job postings, Complete Payroll and HR+ that adds on some HR tools like employee handbooks, proactive compliance alerts, a job description wizard, and access to the HR help desk, and HR Pro Payroll and HR, that includes an applicant tracking system, onboarding tools, and an LMS. 

Where ADP stands out is their Workforce Now packages for medium-sized businesses from 50–999 employees. They offer three tiers: Select, Plus, and Premium. Select is a basic suite of HR and payroll tools. Plus includes benefits administration, and Premium adds on their suite of time and attendance tools including time tracking and PTO management. 

With any of the Workforce Now packages, you can add on modules for Talent Acquisition, Performance Management, Compensation Management, HR Assist, Analytics and Enhanced Insights, and Learning Management.

According to Forbes, users reported pricing starts from $62 per month, but the average business should expect to spend a lot more than that. For example, the ADP support team quoted payroll only for 50 employees at $400 per month.    

Free Trial? Yes, three months free on select products. 

Free Plan: No.
Learn more about ADP

5. BambooHR – Best HRMS for small business

Overview

BambooHR is great for both small- and medium-sized businesses who want to easily manage personnel records, payroll, and perks. BambooHR is the most HR-focused entry on this list—it’s a purebred Human Resources Management System (HRMS) with payroll, benefits, and time tracking as extras. 

Onboarding, offboarding, document storage, employee satisfaction, and robust reporting options are all built right in. Out-of-the-box workflows for time off requests, salary changes, and more make it easy to save time on admin while being sure nothing slips through the cracks. 

For tools like performance management, payroll, and benefits administration, you’ll need to pay extra. But their performance management tools are some of the best out there, and visualizations of employee progress and satisfaction, along with customizable automations and reporting on almost any piece of data set them apart as a team management tool. Employee self-service for onboarding, personal information, document storage, and benefits is also best-in-class.   

While BambooHR does come with “benefits tracking,” it’s a clunky feature that requires a lot of manual entry. If you’re looking for HR software with benefits, you’re better off paying for their benefits administration add-on. 

If you don’t have complex payroll needs, and you’re looking for a more HR-focused tool, BambooHR has all the bells and whistles to help streamline admin and manage your team while improving productivity across the board. Or, if you already have payroll and time tracking tools you love, using Bamboo to jumpstart your performance management is a great choice.   

Key Features

  • Best-in-class performance management tools and visualizations
  • Intuitive, user-friendly onboarding and offboarding workflows
  • Automated workflows for time-off requests, promotions, compensation changes, and more
  • Payroll processing in all 50 states
  • Multiple PTO policies and automated accruals
  • Integrated Applicant Tracking System
  • Custom reporting options on any data housed in the system
  • Payroll, benefits, time tracking, and performance management available as add-ons
  • 350+ software integrations

Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Semi-transparent pricingLimited functionality in mobile app
Powerful performance management toolsBasic plan is bare-bones
Best-in-class onboarding and offboardingPrice increases quickly to access all the best features
Employee self-service for everything from paystubs to benefits administrationNo international support

Pricing

For fewer than 20 employees, BambooHR charges a flat rate based on which package you choose. Over 20 employees, and you’ll pay on a per-employee-per-month basis.

BambooHR has two available plans along with a handful of optional add-ons. The Essentials Plan comes with employee records management, standard reporting and analytics, time-off management, as well as a few automated workflows. It starts at $108 per month for the first 20 employees.

The Advantage Plan includes advanced reporting, custom workflows, onboarding and offboarding, their applicant tracking system, and employee wellness features. 

They also offer four add-on packages: payroll ($150 per month for up to 20 employees + $7.25 per employee per month after that), benefits administration ($5 per employee per month), performance management ($5.75 per employee per month), and time tracking ($3 per employee per month). These modules all have volume discounts, so the per employee cost will drop as your business grows. 

Free Trial? Yes, 7 days.

Free Plan: No.
Learn more about BambooHR

6. Homebase – Best HR software for hourly workers

Overview

Homebase is an all-in-one scheduling, time tracking, payroll, and HR solution created specifically for shift-based businesses. HR needs for restaurants, retail, and other hourly businesses differ significantly from traditional white collar offices. But a lot of human resource software for small business focuses on tools targeted toward salary-based businesses and lacks even basic scheduling functionality. 

Luckily, Homebase has one of the most robust scheduling tools on the market. Auto-schedule by availability or using sales and labor forecasts. Shift swapping is a breeze, and communication between team members is easy within the app.

While Homebase is more of a time-tracking tool with an HR add-on, they’ve got everything hourly-based businesses need to manage their teams. Their HR suite includes hiring and onboarding with automated job postings across multiple job boards, employee happiness surveys and no-cost benefit options, and secure document storage and compliance designed with shift-based businesses in mind. Sick leave, PTO, and vacation time are easy to manage and track, and a team of HR pros is available to answer your compliance questions. 

While there are more powerful HR-focused platforms on the market, Homebase is the easy winner for shift-based businesses looking to streamline their tech stack while still accessing all the people tools and functionality they need. 

Key Features

  • Designed specifically for shift-based businesses 
  • Powerful time and scheduling tools 
  • Recruiting, hiring, and paperless onboarding
  • Payroll add-on available with automated tax filings
  • Built-in compliance for meal time, breaks, and minimum wage
  • Integrations with popular POS, recruiting, accounting, and payroll software
  • Robust, native communication tools
  • Mobile app for time tracking, communication, shift swapping, and more
  • Employee happiness surveys and retention tools

Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Automated scheduling saves hours each monthPayroll add-on is expensive
People-focused tools to keep your team happy and engagedFull suite of HR tools is only available in the All-in-One plan
Competitively priced, even for top-tier planDifficult to correct time for incorrect clock-ins
Easily integrates with payroll providersOccasional software bugs reported

Pricing 

Homebase offers four pricing tiers. Their Basic plan is free and includes just scheduling, time, and hiring features for up to 20 employees at a single location.

The Essentials plan is $20 a month billed annually for unlimited employees and includes team communication, performance tracking, and remote and field tools. 

At $48 per month (billed annually), the Plus plan adds on labor cost control and budgets, time-off and PTO tracking, as well as permissions and policies. The All-in-One plan adds the HR tools you need to thrive including new-hire onboarding, employee document storage, and their full HR and compliance suite at $80 per month. 

For the payroll add-on, it’s $39 a month + $6 per employee paid per month.

Homebase offers no-commitment monthly plans at slightly higher prices than listed above. 

Free Trial? Yes, 14 days.

Free Plan: Yes, basic scheduling, time, and hiring features for up to 20 employees at a single location. 

Learn more about Homebase

FAQs

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