Human Resources Software

Finding software can be overwhelming. We've helped thousands of companies choose the right HR software so they can better manage personnel needs and support employee development.

Showing 1-20 of 831 products

ZenefitsFrontRunners 2019

Zenefits is an all encompassing HR SaaS platform designed specifically for small and midsize businesses. The Zenefits People Platform includes a robust offering spanning HR, Benefits, Payroll, Wellbeing and Performance apps and combines... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 206 recommendations

Platforms: MacWin
Deployments: Cloud
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RipplingFrontRunners 2019

Rippling is a modern, all-in-one HR platform. Businesses can manage their payroll, benefits, compliance, computers, and apps — all in one, online system. In just 90-seconds, a company can set up (or disable) an employee’s payroll,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 204 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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Namely

Namely offers a cloud-based solution for companies seeking a single comprehensive system to manage their human capital. Namely helps midsize companies manage compliance and streamline everything payroll, benefits and talent management. Namely... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 121 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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RUN Powered by ADP

RUN Powered by ADP (RUN"), is a web-based payroll solution designed for small businesses. The solution can be deployed on either iPhones, iPads or on any touchscreen device. RUN can integrate with multiple third-party accounting software... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 113 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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Kronos Workforce Ready

Workforce Ready by Kronos is a human resources (HR) platform that combines workforce management with human capital management (HCM) capabilities and is suitable for businesses of all sizes.  Kronos Workforce Ready is a single cloud-based... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 109 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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BambooHRFrontRunners 2019

BambooHR is a cloud-based human resources (HR) software service for small and midsize businesses. BambooHR offers small and growing companies a human resource information system (HRIS) that includes an applicant tracking system (ATS)... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 103 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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GustoFrontRunners 2019

Gusto is a modern, online people platform that helps small businesses take care of their teams. Gusto offers products and services to help you onboard, pay, insure, and engage your team in one integrated, easy-to-use platform loved... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 98 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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ClearCompany HRMFrontRunners 2019

ClearCompany is a software system that works for human resources (HR) and recruiting teams across both public and private industries. The ClearCompany Talent Alignment Platform connects recruiting, new employee onboarding and performance... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 97 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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JazzHR

JazzHR is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applicant tracking system. Founded in 2009, JazzHR provides recruiting and hiring software accessible to businesses of all sizes. JazzHR’s sourcing tools enable users to post jobs, mirror... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 74 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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eddyHR

EddyHR’s mission is to help small and midsize businesses move out of paper and spreadsheets, and into an intuitive, modern, all-in-one HR platform. EddyHR is unique because of its seamless combination of hiring, onboarding, and people... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 70 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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PaycorFrontRunners 2019

Paycor is an integrated cloud-based software suite that offers functionality to encompasses the entire employee lifecycle - from recruiting and onboarding to time and attendance management. Collectively, the solution offers tools for... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 68 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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iCIMS Hiring Suite

Support the entire candidate experience from start to finish with an end-to-end enterprise recruitment technology platform. iCIMS offers best-in-class recruiting products for your hiring life cycle, available as part of one unified... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 66 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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Patriot Payroll

Patriot Payroll from Patriot Software is an integrated human resource (HR) and payroll management solution that helps to streamline the different processes associated with managing payroll payments and tax submissions. The solution... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 55 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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Workable

An applicant tracking system and more, Workable combines machine learning and AI with 40+ integrations to provide a complete hiring toolkit. In five years, 20,000 companies have used its global hiring platform to find, evaluate and... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 50 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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APSFrontRunners 2019

APS has a mission: to make payroll and HR easier. They have been providing payroll and tax compliance services to companies since 1996. In 2004, APS released its cloud-based solution for workforce management. APS delivers a single-system... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 49 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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Workful

Workful is a cloud-based payroll and employee management solution designed to help small businesses automate processes for internal communication, time tracking, onboarding and more. Key features include direct deposit, geo-fenced... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 49 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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UltiProFrontRunners 2019

Ultimate Software’s UltiPro® is a cloud-based human capital management (HCM) solution designed to help organizations manage their HR, payroll, and talent needs. A configurable solution, UltiPro has functionality for recruiting and... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 42 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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ADP Workforce NowFrontRunners 2019

ADP Workforce Now is a human capital management solution for companies with more than 50 employees. The core capabilities of the solution include human resources management, payroll, benefits, talent management, compliance, time and... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 41 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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Sage HRMS

Sage HRMS is an on-premise, human resources solution for small and midsize businesses. It allows users to manage the entire employee lifecycle. Primary features include employee record management, payroll processing and management,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 40 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: On premise
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PurelyHRFrontRunners 2019

PurelyHR is a cloud-based leave management solution for small to midsize businesses. The system’s core modules allow HR departments to track staff leave requests and approvals as well as manage diverse time off policies and hierarchies.... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 38 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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2020 Human Resources Pricing Guide

Learn about the key aspects of accurate software pricing before you make your purchase decision.

Includes:

  • Pricing models & ranges

  • Unexpected costs

  • Pricing of popular systems

Buyers guide


Last Updated: February 19, 2020

What is Human Resources (HR) Software?

Human resources (HR) software is designed to help business owners, recruiters and HR departments manage, recruit, hire, and develop employees. Applications such as payroll and time and attendance streamline operational needs, learning management systems optimize employee development and applicant tracking systems help to attract and hire employees.

Benefits of HR Software

  • Efficient personnel management. HR systems store a complete directory of employee data such as general personal information, job and salary history, benefits and insurance plans, banking and SSN details, performance information and often other custom data relevant to the company. This keeps all information linked and recorded together for ease of tracking and management.
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  • Enhanced reporting and analytics. HR systems collect swathes of employee data such as compensation numbers, recruiting data, performance information and much more. HR practitioners use their systems to analyze key workforce metrics and insights in order to make strategic business decisions.
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  • Repetitive task automation. The automation of specific and repetitive HR functions saves businesses time and allows employees to focus on decision making. HR processes such as expense reporting, employee onboarding and payroll can all be automated by HR software.
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  • Employee life cycle management. This helps businesses manage employees from the moment they apply for a position within the organization to the moment they leave. Life cycle management is key to attracting and retaining top talent. HR applications such as talent management, applicant tracking and employee engagement contribute to life cycle management.

Competitive Advantages of Using HR Software

Your employees are the most important resource you have, and your company's success hinges on your ability to manage them effectively. HR software can give you a competitive advantage in getting the most out of your workforce by helping you:

  • Improve data insight. Using HR tools to analyze the workforce helps you make data-driven business decisions. As well as storing accurate historical data, data within HR systems is constantly updated which helps managers detect and analyze trends and issues in the workforce. Creating standardized reports is also vital for compliance purposes and keeping stakeholders in the know.
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  • Increase employee engagement and productivity. Employee feedback captured can gauge engagement and productivity levels, but it can also be analyzed alongside workforce trends to determine the impact of employee engagement on business outcomes. This helps to curate career paths, make employee development decisions, and strengthen company culture initiatives to boost engagement and bolster retention efforts.
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  • Source the right talent. Talent management features help HR managers source talent from the right places in order to grow and remain competitive. A company's true competitive differentiator is its employees, so making the right investments in people with the help of HR tools is imperative in order to stay ahead.

Business Sizes Using HR Software

HR tools are used by many businesses across a broad spectrum of industries, so while there's no “standard" buyer type, there are a few categories in which your business will likely fall:

  • Small business buyer. These buyers tend to be new businesses with anywhere from 1-50 employees that don't have any dedicated HR personnel.
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  • Midsize business buyer. These buyers have anywhere from 51-500 employees, and typically have at least an HR generalist and a recruiter on staff. Due to rapid growth, these buyers need software for things like applicant tracking and benefits administration.
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  • Enterprise business buyer. These buyers are established businesses with more than 500 employees. They have a sizable HR department, dedicated IT personnel and are generally looking to optimize their workforce with compensation and learning management systems.

Categories of HR Software

Generally, Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS systems) are broken down into three main categories: Core HR, Workforce Management and Strategic HR.

hr software functionality

Features Guide

A List of Common HR Software Features

When comparing HR software, it's important to understand the functionality included in each, as this will help you decide what size and type of system is right for your business. We've listed the most common functions of these systems are in the tables below.

Core HR makes up the three traditional human resources management functions: personnel management, benefits management and payroll. Every business will require these functions once it has reached a critical mass of employees.

Personnel management/tracking Centralizes employee data such as SSN and banking details, contact information, job and salary history, and benefits and insurance plans.
Benefits management Manages employee benefits such as paid time off, medical/dental/life insurance policies and 401(k) participation.
Payroll Tracks employee salaries, bonuses, 401(k) contributions, health and other deductions; calculates withholding for taxes; and cuts paychecks.

Workforce Management Features:

Workforce management encompasses applications that track your workforce, including scheduling and time and attendance tracking functionality. These HR solutions usually include payroll functionality or integrate well with other payroll software.

Time and attendance tracking Tracks employee attendance and absences, and enables employees to clock in and out. Many solutions also track PTO and sick days.
Employee scheduling Creates, tracks and manages employee schedules. Systems can schedule employees across departments, locations and projects.
Strategic HR Features:Strategic HR involves HR applications that support long-term business goals such as attracting, retaining and developing employees. These applications generally provide some combination of applicant tracking and recruiting, learning management as well as performance review functionality.Performance managementCentralized systems where managers can conduct and track reviews with employees. Features include performance measuring, tracking and goal management.Applicant trackingCentralizes applicant information throughout the application process and manages the application process. Includes customized hiring workflows, resume management and applicant scoring.Learning managementManages the ongoing skills development and training of employees. Includes content authoring, curriculum and certification path definition, testing and reporting.

Feature Details and Examples

Personnel management/tracking: Sometimes referred to as a human resources information system (HRIS), this feature centralizes and manages important employee information including personal information, contact details, salary rates and more. Users can attach documents to employee profiles, run reports and see a top-down view of their organization as a whole.

namely personnel tracking

Personnel tracking in Namely

Benefits management: This feature helps manage employee benefits such as paid time off, medical/dental/life insurance policies and 401(k) participation. It provides details such as enrollment and allows organizations to ensure compliance with the ACA and file necessary paperwork and reports.

adp workforce now benefits administration

Benefits management in ADP Workforce Now

Payroll: This functionality helps you compensate your employees accurately and on-time, allowing users to manage employee salary and wage rates, set a pay schedule, input hours worked and automate payroll runs. Most systems allow you to print checks or do direct deposits, and you can even generate important tax forms for employees (e.g., W2s and 1099s).

surepayroll payroll dashboard

Payroll dashboard in SurePayroll

Time and attendance: This allows you to accurately capture how many hours your people are working. Employees can use time and attendance software to clock in and out of work through their computer or smartphone and request time off, while managers can use the system to approve requests, monitor overtime hours and manage paid time off (PTO) allotments.

replicon time and attendance

Time and attendance in Replicon

Employee scheduling: This lets managers create, track and manage employee schedules. This can include employee tracking, integrated time clock functionality, and report generation. This feature also makes it easy to record hours and payroll data.

when i work employee scheduling

Employee scheduling in When I Work

Applicant tracking: This allows you to track where all of your candidates are in the hiring process for different positions in your organization. You can post job openings online, store job applications and resumes, collaborate with hiring managers on talent assessment and generate reports. Embedded analytics can tell you where to focus your efforts to improve your recruiting processes.

jazzhr applicant tracking

Applicant Tracking in JazzHR

Performance management: This helps you schedule, execute and document employee performance reviews. The criteria on which employees are graded can be customized, and the software can automatically notify users throughout your organization when they have a pending task to complete in the performance review workflow.

clearcompany performance management

Performance management in ClearCompany

Learning management: This feature helps businesses better manage their online learning and employee skill programs. Rather than having to manually manage and track all of the workflows that are involved with ensuring employees have access to and complete learning programs, this functionality helps automate the entire process, from start to finish.

absorb learning manegement

HR Buyers' Top-Requested Features

The HR software buyers our advisors have helped tend to be seeking core HR features such as payroll and personnel tracking, followed by workforce management features. Some of the more strategic features such as performance and learning related features are less requested by prospective buyers.

top requested hr software features 2018

Pricing Guide

How HR Software Is Priced and Hosted

There are typically two pricing models that HR software vendors offer customers: subscription packages and perpetual licenses.

Subscription Models:

Subscription pricing models are more commonly associated with cloud-based HR tools. Some examples include paying per employee/per month, or per user/per month:

  • Per employee/per month: This model allows you to pay a monthly fee for each of your employees. There are also often one-time implementation fees on top of this, and the per employee cost tends to decrease as the total number of employees increases. This pricing structure lends itself well to smaller businesses due to its affordability and scalability.
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  • Per user/per month: Users pay a monthly fee for users—normally administrative users—rather than all employees. However, be aware that vendors may try to class all of your employees as users if they're also offering an employee self-service portal, which will drive up costs significantly. There may also be a one-time implementation fee on top of the per user, per month price.

Perpetual License:

This involves paying an upfront sum for the license to own the software and use it indefinitely. This is the more traditional model and is most common with on-premise applications and with larger sized businesses. The upfront costs are usually high, but vendors typically offer a period of technical support within the price, along with software update costs. However, software updates and technical support may not be provided for free in perpetuity.

What Businesses Typically Budget for HR Software

Based on an analysis of the HR software buyers our advisors speak to, businesses tend to budget for HR software on a 'per employee, per month' basis. The highest percentage of buyers (almost 33 percent) budget for $6-$10 per employee/per month, followed by 31 percent of buyers who only want to spend $5 or lower per employee/per month. Only around 11 percent are willing to budget more than $16-$20 per employee/per month.

(Please note that these prices are based on a 'per employee, per month' basis, and do not include any potential up-front fees, such as installation/setup or training.)

buyer budget for hr software per employee per month

Hidden Costs of HR Software

No matter what type of business or buyer you are or whether you choose a subscription package or a perpetual license, it's unlikely that you won't encounter other costs necessary to the HR software you've invested in.

For example, if you're moving from a legacy system to a cloud-based platform, data cleansing and migration may incur an extra cost. Likewise, system upgrades, maintenance costs and staff training may also incur a fee, so make sure you check with vendors about these potential extra costs.

FAQs

What Are the Key Functions of HR Software?

As listed in the “Common Features" section above, the following are the key functions of HR software:

Core HR Functions:

  • Personnel management/tracking: Manages employee data such as SSN and banking details, contact information, job and salary history, and benefits and insurance plans.
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  • Benefits management: Manages employee benefits such as PTO, medical/dental/life insurance policies and 401(k) participation.
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  • Payroll: Tracks employee salaries, bonuses, 401(k) contributions, health and other deductions; calculates withholding for taxes; and cuts paychecks.

Workforce Management Functions:

  • Time and attendance tracking: Tracks employee attendance and enables employees to clock in and out. Many solutions also track PTO and sick days.
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  • Employee scheduling: Creates, tracks and manages employee schedules. Systems can schedule employees across departments, locations and projects.

Strategic HR Functions:

  • Applicant tracking: Track the progress of job candidates from when they apply to when they accept a job offer.
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  • Performance management: Set up a custom workflow and automate tasks throughout the company related to discussing, assessing and measuring employee performance.
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  • Learning management: Manages the ongoing skills development and training of employees. Includes content authoring, curriculum and certification path definition, testing and reporting.

What Questions Should I Ask Vendors When Evaluating HR Products?

When researching HR software vendors, don't just sit back and receive the sales pitch. Request a demo in which a representative walks you through the software and its various features. More importantly, ask as many questions as you need, as the answers will help you understand whether the system can cater to your unique HR business needs.

Is the solution configurable to my needs?

If you're not looking for an out-of-the-box solution, you'll need to know whether the system is customizable to your needs as a business. Customization may also come with a higher price tag.

How scalable is the solution?

Although vendors are usually happy to include provisions for scaling up, they may be reluctant to allow customers to scale down. The agreement should be flexible, but the vendor may not offer this option without being prompted.

Which features do users of the software report frequent issues or challenges with?

Vendors may squirm at this question, but you'll need to know what features or functionality tends to be challenging for users. This is also important for gauging whether you can trust the vendor to be upfront with you about the product and its limitations, and also how seriously they take feedback and customer issues.

What systems does your product integrate with?

You may already be using other systems to manage your workforce, and it's working well for your organization. In this case, you'll need to know whether your existing systems can integrate into a specific HR system, or whether you want to invest in an integrated HR system that brings together many key HR modules.

Follow up question: How easily does it integrate with these products?

You'll need to know whether the integration of these systems will require a large-scale data migration project, or whether you'll need to pay extra for a specialist to do this.

Does My Small Business Really Need HR Software?

Yes. Even if you're managing only a handful of employees right now, it probably won't stay that way forever. If you're worried about the cost of HR systems, you can get your business started with a free system—but be aware of their limited functionality and hidden costs. Our article "What's the Catch?: 10 Free HR Software Systems and Their Catches" takes you through 10 free HR systems and their limitations, such as number of users, geo-specific software and open source options.

However, as you grow, you'll need to consider choosing a more robust HR system to effectively manage the many aspects of the workforce. HR systems and their associated costs used to be geared towards enterprise and midsize businesses and were not cost-effective for new, smaller businesses.

Nowadays, there is an array of HR system options for smaller businesses, with matching functionality. Check out our article “Software Needs Cycle for HR: 9 Types of HR Systems to Adopt as You Start, Grow & Optimize Your Business," which will help you prioritize which features your business needs and when.

HRIS, HRMS, HCM—What's the Difference?

It's easy to get caught-up in the many acronyms in the HR software industry, and confusion about what they mean can make the purchase journey even more confusing. We aim to spell out the key differences in our article "HRIS vs. HRMS vs. HCM: What's the Difference?"

What Are Some Drawbacks I Should Watch Out for?

Adopting an HR software system that is not right for your business will lead to a wasted system and a wasted budget. Investing in a huge system with a ton of functionality may seem like the smart thing to do to cover all of your bases, but your focus should be on what the right set of features means for your business.

Not only will your employees likely not use many of the features, but high costs will mean that you're likely to swap the product for something more fitting down the line.

The swathes of data that HR systems produce can also prove difficult to analyze if you haven't chosen the right software. In fact, you may need another system such as a business intelligence tool to help you make sense of data and be able to generate reports.

Many companies also fall into the trap of forgetting the importance of the 'human factor' in the workplace. Often, managers get caught-up in the high levels of automation HR systems provide, and rely too heavily on automating tasks such as employee development steps, appraisals and feedback, which will always require a degree of humanization to be carried-out effectively.

Tips & Tools

Relevant Articles

Here are some recent articles about HR software you should check out:

Popular HR System Comparisons

Recent Events in the HR Software Market

Here are some important recent events concerning HR vendors and the world of HR software:

  • Ultimate Software acquisition. In early 2019, Ultimate Software (known for HCM solution UltiPro), a vendor which is market-dominant among midsize companies, was acquired by private equity group Hellman & Friedman. The same group also acquired Kronos in 2007.
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  • Glassdoor acquired by Recruit. Job review and recruitment website Glassdoor was acquired in 2018 by Japanese HR services provider Recruit. The deal will give Recruit access to Glassdoor's huge database of company reviews and salary data.
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  • TalentShare acquired by The Muse. Recruitment site The Muse—focused on matching job seekers with relevant career information, advice and open positions—acquired TalentShare. TalentShare is a year-old HR platform that enabled companies to share information about high-quality candidates that they didn't hire but would recommend to others.

Software Related to HR Market

HR tools include several types of software based on specific applications or functionalities:

  • Applicant Tracking Software (ATS): Recruiters can use features like customized hiring workflows, resume management and applicant scoring to lower recruiting costs and hire better employees, faster.
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  • Time And Attendance Software: Helps employees and managers easily input work hours, monitor attendance and calculate correct wages with features like online clock-in and payroll integration.
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  • Payroll Software: Helps businesses of all sizes compensate their workers accurately and on-time with features like employee time tracking, automatic wage calculation and payroll run automation.
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  • Performance Management Software: Helps HR personnel, department managers and employees automate processes related to performance reviews. These systems can gather worker feedback with features like survey templates, email reminders and embedded performance analytics.

FrontRunners

Your Guide to Top Human Resources Software, April 2019

Software Advice uses reviews from real software users to highlight the top-rated Human Resources Software products in North America.

Learn how products are chosen

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