Best HRIS Systems: Namely vs Zenefits vs Gusto vs BambooHR vs Kin & More!

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As a small business, are you struggling with how to handle HR management? And don’t have the budget to hire a dedicated HR administrator? Fortunately, there are several online human resources information systems (HRIS) that can take these issues off your plate for a reasonable cost. Many online HRIS systems market to enterprise-level businesses, and it’s hard to find ones that cater to small businesses. But we’ve done our homework to find ones that fit your small biz and your budget. Read our HRIS systems reviews to see our recommendations for the best HR software for small businesses.

Best Small Business HRIS Systems

HRIS software systems for small- to medium-sized businesses, for the most part, are relatively new to the market (averaging five years old), and most are continually building upon their features and functionality. Each system we review here offers different sets of tools, so we encourage you to read through all of our reviewed products to find one that best meets your needs.

BambooHR Review

#1

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BambooHR is our top pick for the best HR software for small to medium sized businesses. This cloud-based solution is surprisingly affordable for the features you get — built-in applicant tracking system (ATS) and recruitment software, onboarding for new employees, time-off tracking, analytics and more. BambooHR’s web-based and mobile interfaces are simple for employees and administrators to use. And this provider recently incorporated a built-in payroll module (for an added fee) to help you streamline your HR practices in one place. You can test run Bamboo to see if it fits your company’s needs with their 7-day free trial.

Pros

Cons

  • Easy-to-use interface for admins and employee self-service
  • Built-in ATS and recruitment system
  • Easy onboarding process with eSignatures
  • Excellent employee records management
  • Time and PTO tracking
  • Custom workflows
  • Nearly 100 integrations and decent API
  • Mobile apps for iOS and Android
  • Users report reliable customer service reps
  • No transparency about pricing (must get a quote)
  • Setup fees can get expensive
  • Additional fees for performance management and payroll
  • No Quickbooks or Xero integrations available
  • No weekend customer service hours or live chat

Gusto Review

#2

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Gusto wins our number two spot for the best HR software for small business. This software is better known as a major player among small business payroll services (read our payroll software reviews), but Gusto offers some excellent HR features as well at an attractive price point for any small biz budget. Gusto stands out for its upfront, easy pricing. For a base of $39 per month and $6 per employee, you get all of Gusto’s features (no add-ons to rack up your bill). These features include onboarding with eSignatures, time and PTO tracking, employee records in one place, full-service payroll, benefits administration and more. And you can try Gusto out with their 30-day free trial.

Pros

Cons

  • Competitive pricing and no setup fees
  • Very intuitive interface 
  • Provides onboarding with eSignatures
  • Full-service payroll, tax forms and payments, including W-2 and 1099 processing
  • Good employee record respository
  • Integrates with QuickBooks, FreshBooks, Xero and other accounting software
  • Customers report responsive, helpful tech support
  • Doesn’t include applicant tracking or recruitment management or performance management
  • Reporting could use improvement
  • No mobile apps (web-based only)
  • No weekend customer support hours
  • Doesn’t offer developer API

Pricing

Gusto provides a 30-day free trial, no credit card required.

  • $39 base rate per month
  • $6 per employee

Namely Review

#3

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Namely wins our number three spot for the best HR software for small business. This web-based platform allows HR admins to manage employee records, time tracking, payroll, benefits, performance reviews and talent management all in one place. And their employee self-service portal is a breeze to use. Namely also offers a built in social news feed and customizable reports for both individual and teams. If you can’t handle all the HR tasks, Namely provides managed services for additional fees.

Pros

Cons

  • Intuitive interface
  • Provides onboarding with eSignatures, goals and performance management
  • Built-in payroll is among the best compared to similar providers
  • Open API to connect employee data to any system you use and 40+ integrations
  • Social news feeds to employees
  • Mobile apps for iOS and Android
  • 24/7 live customer support
  • No transparency about pricing (must get a quote)
  • Requires a minimum of 15 employees
  • No built-in applicant tracking or recruitment management
  • PTO doesn’t roll over to payroll
  • No Quickbooks or Xero integrations available
  • Some users say the onboarding process is cumbersome

Other HRIS Systems Reviews

The following Human Resource software options for small to medium-sized businesses didn’t make our top three picks, but we think all three are worthy of consideration.

Cezanne | Kin | Zenefits

Cezanne Review

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This cloud-based HR software based in the UK is an excellent, affordable solution if you have employees around the world (Cezanne supports 10 languages). Cezanne is best suited for companies with 50+ employees. Its pricing involves a monthly subscription based on the modules you choose and the number of users. The self-service core module, called “People,” offers training and document management, reporting, and health and safety compliance. Then you can choose to add on one or more modules, which include applicant tracking, absence management, time tracking and performance management. You can also integrate Cezanne with payroll, benefits, and other third-party apps thanks to its open API for developers.

Pros

Cons

  • Easy to implement and use
  • Excellent employee data management, org charts, calendars and time and PTO tracking
  • Reliable reporting and analytics
  • Open API
  • Mobile apps for iOS and Android
  • Users report helpful customer support
  • Likely too expensive and complex for businesses with fewer than 75 employees
  • No transparency about pricing (must get a quote)
  • Payroll and benefits features via integration only
  • No onboarding features
  • Doesn’t offer Quickbooks or Xero integrations

Kin Review

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Kin is a simple, straightforward cloud-based HR system with a price tag that will fit most small business budgets. For only $5 per month per employee, you get a host of features, including employee self-service, onboarding, document storage and signature tracking, PTO management, employee reviews, customized employee data tracking, compensation and salary tracking, daily data backups and more. The downsides of this relatively new system are the absence of integrations and mobile apps. The Kin API is decent, but it needs work to become fully functional. Still, if you’re looking for an affordable and simple HR tool, Kin could be it. You can try out Kin with their 7-day free trial to see if it fits your company’s HR needs.

Pros

Cons

  • Excellent price point
  • Easy to implement and use with employee self-service
  • Strong onboarding tools with eSignatures
  • PTO and performance management
  • 99.9% uptime and 24/7 monitoring
  • Customer support via live chat and email
  • Lacks many features: applicant tracking and recruitment, time tracking, payroll, benefits, reporting and analytics
  • Doesn’t offer any integrations
  • No mobile apps
  • Could use a more powerful API
  • No weekend or evening customer support

Pricing

Kin offers a 7-day free trial with no credit card required.

  • $5 per employee per month (minimum of 5 users)

Zenefits Review

Zenefits logo

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Zenefits stands out for its solid reputation as a provider of free HR tools, which include hiring, onboarding, employee management and benefits — a huge plus for small businesses on a tight budget. Their paid plans offer a few additional features such as compliance and PTO tracking. And if you want to add payroll and time and attendance, there’s an additional fee for each feature as an add-on. You only pay for what you need, but if you have a lot of employees, it gets expensive quickly. Zenefits didn’t make it into our top two spots due to their pricing and the numerous complaints about the new customer support ticketing system that users say is unresponsive (they used to offer a dedicated account manager). Now you have to pay $5 per month per employee for an HR advisor.

Pros

Cons

  • Free plan with solid services
  • Intuitive interface
  • Great onboarding tools with eSignatures
  • Decent reporting and analytics
  • 25+ integrations, including Quickbooks and Xero
  • Mobile apps for iOS and Android
  • Additional fees for payroll and time tracking
  • Doesn’t offer payroll in all 50 states
  • Performance management via app only
  • No built-in applicant tracking or recruitment management
  • Lacks API for developers
  • Customer support has gone down hill

Pricing

Zenefits offers a free version and the following paid plans and add-ons.

Standard Plan

  • $40 base fee per month
  • $6/month/employee month-to-month or $5/month/employee annually
  • Includes HR platform, custom fields, business intelligence, documents app & more

Advanced Plan

  • $40 base fee per month
  • $12/month/employee month-to-month or $9/month/employee annually
  • Includes all of the above plus time off tracking, ACA compliance, compliance assistant, HR library & more

Add-On Pricing

  • Payroll: $4/month/employee
  • Time & Attendance: $5/month/employee
  • HR Avisor: $5/month/employee

View all plans

Watch Our #1 Pick in Action

Check out BambooHR’s video that highlights its dashboard and features — and why sound HR practices are so important for small businesses.

What Else Is Available?

As we explained previously, small business HRIS systems aren’t as plentiful as some other online software geared toward small businesses. And it’s difficult to juggle it all with limited manpower and a small budget. We hope our HRIS systems reviews have helped you find a good choice for your business. If you’re looking for other online HR tools, be sure to check out our reviews of the best payroll software for small businesses and business intelligence tools for small businesses, which could possibly help you offset some costs.

What would you recommend for a small business looking to go digital with their HR practices?

Sally has coupled her passion for writing with her (slight) obsession for the latest high tech gadgets. While she’s not daydreaming about the beach, she’s taking advantage of all the activities her hometown has to offer in the Blue Ridge foothills.

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1 Comment on "Best HRIS Systems: Namely vs Zenefits vs Gusto vs BambooHR vs Kin & More!"

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Kathy
Kathy
Our company is growing and we haven’t had an HR person, so this might be a good solution for us. Does anyone have personal experience with any of these?
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