The 5 Best HRIS Systems According to Real Users

By: on November 18, 2020

Almost every growing business will hit a breaking point where storing their employees’ phone numbers and addresses in a spreadsheet doesn’t work anymore. Whether that’s because manual data entry is prone to human error or payroll is a lot easier with an integrated employee database, when that day comes, you’ll need a human resources information system (HRIS).

If that day has come for your business, congratulations—a growing workforce is a sign of success! Before you let the software selection process intimidate you, hear this: We’re here to help.

We’ve put together this guide to five top-rated HRIS solutions to give you an idea of what kind of options are available on the market. So without further ado, let’s dive right in.

But first, what exactly is an HRIS?

An HRIS is a type of human resources software used by businesses to assist with a number of HR functions. What distinguishes an HRIS from other kinds of HR software is that it is the central repository of employee data for a business.

Functions of a typical HRIS include:

  • Storing employee data
  • Running payroll
  • Assisting with the recruiting process
  • Administering benefits
  • Tracking time and attendance

Sound like something your business could benefit from? If so, let’s take a look at five of the best products on the market.

5 top-rated HRIS systems

The products featured below are each a Software Advice FrontRunner for 2020. In addition, each product has an overall rating above four stars (out of five) based on more than 500 user reviews on our site. Each product offers the core functionality needed to be considered an HRIS (employee profiles, employee database, and reporting), plus a lot more. Products are listed in alphabetical order.

5 Best HRIS Systems According to Real Users

ADP Workforce Now

ADP Workforce Now is a cloud-based HR software that’s primarily used by businesses with more than 50 employees. ADP Workforce Now offers features that assist with typical HR processes such as payroll, compliance management, and benefits administration. Additionally, ADP Workforce Now comes with robust HR analytics reporting functionality.

Managing employee data in ADP Workforce Now

A candidate profile in ADP Workforce Now (Source)

One notable offering of ADP Workforce Now is their self-service mobile app, which gives employees the ability to enroll in benefits and access timesheet and payroll data, W-2 forms, and direct deposit information.

With ADP Workforce Now, you can start small and add modules as you need them. ADP has four Workforce Now packages that start with a plan that offers just the essentials (payroll and workforce management), and ends with a plan containing every functionality they have to offer.

Overall rating: 4.36/5 stars

Additional features include:

  • Global human capital management
  • Online support
  • Employee wellness program
  • Multilingual service


APS is a workforce management technology ideal for midsize organizations. APS has all of the core HR functionalities covered: performance management, benefits administration, employee scheduling, and payroll. APS also includes tools that help with the recruiting and onboarding processes.

Scheduling with APS

Drag-and-drop scheduling in APS (Source)

Report manager is APS’ HR analytics function, which can automatically create reports based on employee, payroll, and attendance data. Report manager also offers templates that help you to create your own customized reports.

Depending on the size of your business, any of APS’ three available plans could be a suitable HRIS solution. Small businesses may benefit from their most basic option, which includes payroll, time tracking, and an employee directory. On the other hand, their most comprehensive plan includes all of those features as well as performance management, access to their HR support center, and training course enrollment.

Overall rating: 4.6/5 stars

Additional features include:

  • Custom reporting
  • Career development planning
  • Data visualization
  • Dashboard creation


BambooHR is a cloud-based HR management software designed for small to midsize businesses. Its primary features include a robust employee database with role-based permissions, an applicant tracking system (ATS), benefits administration, payroll processing, and employee engagement tools.

An employee profile in BambooHR (Source)

One notable aspect of BambooHR’s system is the level of customization they offer their users. For example, BambooHR uses role-based access protocols that let you build custom user groups with access assignments based on their role. Simply put, the type and amount of information that users are allowed to access is entirely up to you.

BambooHR has two plans: Essentials and Advantage. Both plans include access to BambooHR’s customer support specialists, as well as a variety of features related to HR management and employee self-service. The advantage plan includes their ATS and advanced reporting capabilities.

Overall rating: 4.5/5 stars

Additional features include:

  • Custom reporting
  • Multicurrency
  • Permission management
  • Goal setting and tracking


Paycor is a cloud-based human capital management suite for small and midsize businesses. Paycor has all of the core HR functions (employee database, payroll, benefits administration, and time and scheduling), as well as additional features such as their learning management system (LMS) for training purposes. Paycor’s LMS combines virtual, classroom, mobile and social capabilities on one platform, so employees can learn at their own pace.

An organizational chart created in Paycor

An organizational chart created in Paycor (Source)

Another notable feature of Paycor is their unified analytics platform, which lets you combine HR, payroll, and time data into one report—it can even create data visuals that help convey trends and patterns.

Paycor has two plans: One for small businesses and one for midsize businesses. The former includes payroll, employee scheduling, and onboarding. The midsize business plan includes all of that, along with recruiting, HR analytics, and benefits administration features. Both plans are highly customizable, so you can add or remove modules as you need them.

Overall rating: 4.4/5 stars

Additional features include::

  • Email templates
  • Deadline management
  • Learning management
  • Custom reporting


Zenefits is a cloud-based HR platform ideal for small to midsize businesses. Zenefits offers payroll, benefits administration, and time tracking amongst a handful of other features that help HR departments manage daily tasks. As a supplementary service, you can sign up for Zenefit’s advisory services, a team of HR and payroll experts available to answer questions and help your team through situations.

In addition to their support team and core HR functionalities, Zenefits (in partnership with Thrive Global) offers an employee wellness program that’s designed to help your employees strike a healthy work-life balance.

Zenefits has three plans to choose from: Essentials, Growth, and Zen. Their Essentials plan includes primarily core HR features, while their Growth plan adds performance and compensation management functionalities. Their Zen plan includes all of the above plus employee engagement surveys and their wellness program.

Overall rating: 4.1/5 stars

Additional features include::

  • Content library
  • Custom reporting
  • Task management
  • Record management

Looking for your next HRIS system?

The five products featured in this article are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to HR software. In fact, there are over 1,000 products listed in our HR software directory. For a better idea of the variety of systems out there, as well as the features to look for, check out our HR software buyers guide.

If you’re a first time HR software buyer (or just feeling a little uneasy about the selection process), you can schedule a free consultation with one of our software advisors at your preferred date and time.

Product selection methodology

To identify the products featured in this article, we used the following methodology:

We filtered our HR software directory for products with an overall user rating of at least four stars, then sorted the products by number of reviews. We judged these products on the criteria mentioned below:

  • The tools had a minimum of 500 user reviews on our site.
  • The tools had to have an overall user rating of 4.0 or higher (out of five) on Software Advice (information accessed on November 3, 2020).
  • The tools had to offer all the core features of an HRIS. Core features include employee profiles, employee database, and reporting.

Products are listed in alphabetical order.

Disclaimer: The content in this piece provides the opinions and points of view expressed by users. It does not represent the views of Software Advice.

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