There are many HR management software solutions on the market, so it takes time to study what each of them offers to ensure you pick the right one for your business.
In this article, I have selected and analyzed the 6 best HR software tools for small businesses. Hopefully, you will be able to find exactly what you need in the following list.
So, if you are looking for the perfect HR software for your business, read on!
Table of Contents
The best HR software solutions for small business: Key takeaways
- Plaky — best for HR request management,
- BambooHR — best for employee satisfaction tracking,
- Connecteam — best for managing a deskless team,
- Zoho People — best for employee development,
- Homebase — best for companies with a limited budget,
- Sage HR — best all-in-one solution.
|Pricing (starting from)
|HR requests management
|$3.99/user per month
|Web, Android, and iOS
|Employee satisfaction tracking
|Price quote on request
|Web, macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS
|Managing a deskless team
|$29 per month for the first 30 users + $0.5 per month for each additional user
|Web, macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS.
|$1.5/user per month
|Web, macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android
|Companies with a limited budget
|$20/location per month
|Web and iOS
|$5.5/user per month
|Web, iOS, and Android
Plaky — best for HR requests management
Plaky is a task management tool you can use to organize all your HR processes. It offers all essential features for free, making it the most affordable HR software option. And if you go for one of Plaky’s paid plans, you’ll get more useful features without breaking the bank.
It is well-organized and user-friendly, so it doesn’t take long to get used to it.
Pros of using Plaky for HR
Plaky’s most important benefits include:
- Optimized onboarding process — Plaky offers templates with customizable columns to help you manage the employee onboarding process. You can create a card for each newcomer. This card contains all the necessary information about the recruit, such as their position, phone number, status, etc. An HR member is assigned to each task, helping keep the onboarding process organized and making it easy to track progress.
- HR request management — Plaky makes it easy to manage many requests that come your way, from vacation and sick leave requests to training requirements. A ready-made template allows you to dedicate a task to each request and sort those requests as needed — for example, according to the status of the request, date, or the HR team member assigned to it.
- Recruitment management — applicant tracking is made easy with Plaky’s recruitment template, which lets you keep all applicant history in one place, such as previous employment, education, cover letter, CV, etc. With this template you can categorize applications as you see fit — according to the department, job position, time, etc. You can also create a checklist to help make the recruitment process even more transparent and organized.
- User-friendly interface – Plaky has a very well-designed UI, with a dark blue background that’s easy on the eyes and allows other elements (such as labels or task status buttons) to be more easily skimmed at a glance. Moreover, all the functions are organized intuitively, and I didn’t find myself lost at any point while testing the app.
Cons of using Plaky for HR
The most notable drawbacks of Plaky are:
- No payroll or electronic signature options —automation is a big feature in productivity tools today, and the lack of these particular functionalities will make Plaky less appealing to anyone looking for an all-in-one HR software solution.
- Limited integrations — a wide range of integrations can help offset a lack of built-in features in an app, and it allows companies to more easily introduce new software into their space. Unfortunately, Plaky still doesn’t support integrations with some other popular HR tools.
What’s new in Plaky?
Plaky is often being updated to include useful new features, and some of the latest additions to the app are:
- Timeline field — this is a new feature available on Plaky’s paid plans. It allows users to easily track task and project timelines, as well as have a convenient overview of other fields in the task group. This is very helpful with time-sensitive tasks and with tracking project milestones.
- Bulk actions — this feature allows users to easily move, copy, and edit groups of items from one space to another board, which is particularly useful for larger organizations with multiple teams in the HR department.
- Private views — you can tailor your project data according to your needs and keep it private.
- Gantt view — the feature allows you to get a better hang of your HR processes through a visual representation of your tasks’ timeline.
Available for: web, Android, and iOS
|Plaky’s monthly pricing
|Plaky’s annual pricing
|$4.99/user per month
|$3.99/user per month
|$10.99/user per month
|$8.99/user per month
BambooHR — best for employee satisfaction tracking
BambooHR is an HR tool that helps you gather information about your employees, keep employee records, manage payroll, time off, and much more. It has 2 plans — Essential and Advantage — plus several optional add-ons.
Overall, I found it to be a comprehensive solution for HR management, especially when it comes to employee satisfaction and recruitment.
Pros of using BambooHR for HR
The most notable benefits of BambooHR are:
- Applicant Tracking System (ATS) — BambooHR offers a number of recruitment tools that allow HR team members to work collaboratively on hiring new talent. It provides an overview of all your job openings and a list of all candidates and allows you to sort candidates into talent pools.
- Employee Satisfaction — BambooHR Employee Satisfaction survey helps you see into the minds of your employees and find out how happy they are with their workplace. It is completely anonymous, which increases the likelihood of people providing honest feedback about their employee experience.
- Mobile app — you can use the BambooHR mobile app to send or approve time-off requests, check out the calendar to see who is in or out of the office, or send notifications to all employees. Many people (myself included) like having ready access to work tools on their phones, so a good app is always a big plus.
Cons of using BambooHR for HR
Some downsides to BambooHR include:
- Some features are locked to the pricier plan or are available as add-ons — ATS, e-signatures, onboarding, offboarding, and employee satisfaction surveys are available only in the advance plan and not in the essential plan. Time tracking, payroll, and performance management are available only as optional add-ons.
- No free plan — BambooHR doesn’t offer a free version, and the only way to test the app is through a 7-day free trial.
What’s new in BambooHR?
BambooHR has recently introduced some new features to the app:
- Improved payroll review page — the latest update provides a more comprehensive overview of factors such as taxes, deductions, extra pay, and hours. Even better, it also introduces a number of filters that make reviewing information a breeze, and it lets you export payroll data in either Excel or CSV format.
- Custom tabs and editing in mobile — a relatively recent addition to the mobile app allows users to create custom tabs and edit them on the go, including fields that were previously marked as read-only.
Available for: web, Mac, Windows, Android and iOS
Connecteam — best for deskless teams
Connecteam is a well-rounded HR app focused on training and managing deskless employees, with a wide range of features aimed at achieving those goals. It offers an excellent mobile app and a great degree of customizability.
Pros of using Connecteam for HR
Connecteam’s strongest points include the following:
- Employee training — through Connecteam, you can easily share various types of training materials like PDF files, documents, links, images, videos, and more, with all employees. Moreover, you can create a knowledge hub with company policies, tips, handbooks, and catalogs that everyone can access via the mobile app.
- Time tracking and scheduling — Connecteam’s time tracking allows employees to log their work hours accurately, and it integrates with the platform’s scheduling software, too. Combined with GPS tracking, this makes Connecteam a great tool for managing international teams or teams that work in the field.
💡 Plaky Pro Tip
Looking to learn more about how to manage large teams or just make the process easier with some other tools? Take a look at the following articles:
Cons of using Connecteam for HR
On the other hand, Connecteam has a couple of drawbacks:
- Fixed price plans — there is a fixed price for the first 30 users on each plan, so it may not be an affordable option for very small teams.
- No payroll — there are no built-in payroll functionalities, meaning that you’d either have to handle it manually or by using another software in tandem with Connecteam.
What’s new in Connecteam?
Connecteam has recently introduced a useful new feature:
- Expanded workflow fields — users can now upload files, assign number values, share live location via GPS, and send voice messages directly. Overall, this enhances the app’s communication features.
Available for: web, Mac, Windows, Android, and iOS.
|Connecteam’s monthly pricing
|Connecteam’s yearly pricing
|The small business plan
|N/A (up to 10 users)
|N/A (up to 10 users)
|$35 (+ $0.6/user per month)
|$29 (+ $0.5/user per month)
|$59 (+ $1.8/user per month)
|$49 (+ $1.5/user per month)
|$119 (+ $3.6/user per month)
|$99 (+ $3/user per month)
*The base price is fixed for the first 30 users. Prices in the brackets apply to any additional users.
Zoho People — best for employee development
Zoho is a well-known provider of cloud-based software, and their portfolio includes Zoho People — an excellent HR tool with a wide range of features, with a particular focus on organization and analytics.
Pros of using Zoho People
Here are the main benefits of Zoho People that make it stand out:
- In-depth performance tracking — through the performance tab, Zoho People lets you keep track of important performance-related factors and metrics tied to your employees. This includes key responsibility areas, skills set matrices, salary appraisal, and more.
- Employee engagement survey — the platform offers integrated eNPS and annual employee engagement surveys, which can be created from scratch or using one of Zoho’s existing templates.
- Good integration with other Zoho apps — as mentioned above, Zoho has a wide range of software solutions, including recruitment, analytics, project management, Payroll, and more. Zoho People offers smooth integration with all of these apps and allows you to potentially create a more cost-efficient package that suits your business best.
Cons of using Zoho People
No app is perfect, and here’s the main drawback to this particular tool:
- Reliant on integrations with other apps for some key features — the People app lacks some common HR functionality, such as recruitment, onboarding, and payroll. As mentioned above, Zoho offers separate specialized apps that are integrated with Zoho People, but they will involve an additional cost.
What’s new in Zoho People?
The latest updates have brought some notable improvements to the app:
- Salary hike cycle — with the latest version of the app, companies can run salary hike cycles any time they want, either independently or during an appraisal cycle.
- Easy approval forwarding — this handy feature lets users forward multiple approvals between different approvers. This can greatly facilitate operations in cases where key individuals are absent from the workplace.
Available for: web, macOS, Windows, iOS, Android
|Zoho People’s plans
|Zoho People’s pricing
|$1.25/user per month
|$2/user per month
|$3/user per month
|$4.5/user per month
Homebase — best for companies with a limited budget
Homebase is a versatile HR software that covers a wide range of HR features at a fairly approachable price. This makes it a good option for small businesses that are looking for a reliable all-in-one solution on a more limited budget.
Pros of using Homebase
The most notable benefits of using Homebase are:
- Comprehensive team management — Homebase has all the tools you need to efficiently manage a team, including an employee roster, time off tracking, scheduling, and timesheet reporting.
- Built-in recruitment — the app integrates with several job boards (Indeed, Google Jobs, ZipRecruiter), allowing users to post job ads for free. It also offers several templates you can use and tweak to your liking.
- Fixed prices with unlimited users — unlike most competitors, Homebase’s pricing doesn’t scale with the number of users, but with the number of physical locations your business operates at. While this might make it more expensive for very small teams, this makes it much more cost-efficient for larger companies.
Cons of using Homebase
Homebase’s most noticeable drawbacks include:
- US-only payroll — the app currently only offers payroll for US-based employees, so paying employees or contractors outside the country cannot be done through the app.
- Limited analytics — currently, Homebase doesn’t offer any advanced analytics apart from several useful — but unfortunately limited — reporting capabilities.
- Payroll is a separately-priced add-on — Homebase offers payroll as an optional add-on priced at a fixed $39 per month and an additional $6 per month for each employee paid through the app.
What’s new in Homebase?
Homebase’s latest version has introduced some convenient new features:
- Easy shift management and overview — managers can now view, edit, and copy shift information in as little as 2 clicks. There are also some new filters that make it easier to narrow down your view based on selected criteria.
Available for: web, iOS
|Homebase’s monthly pricing
|Homebase’s yearly pricing
|$24.95/location per month
|$20/location per month
|$59.95/location per month
|$48/location per month
|$99.95/location per month
|$80/location per month
*A location is any physical location your business operates out of.
Sage HR — best all-in-one solution
If you’re looking for a solution that offers all the important HR features in one place, then Sage HR might just fit the bill. Its extensive feature set and flexible pricing will make it appealing to a wide range of businesses, and users can easily tailor a package that best suits their needs and their budget.
Pros of using Sage HR
Here are the main advantages Sage HR has over the competition:
- Convenient time tracking and planning — Sage HR offers full timesheet tracking and reporting, along with advanced scheduling that lets you create schedule groups and templates.
- 360 feedback and surveys — the app allows users to collect feedback through 360 forms, as well as engagement and pulse surveys. Naturally, Sage HR also lets you create your own surveys that would fit the needs of your company.
- Comprehensive reporting — Sage HR gives you access to a reporting hub that includes detailed reports on almost every facet of your organization, from employee performance to scheduling and expense tracking.
- Flexible pricing — rather than offering defined plans like most competitors, Sage HR allows users to choose which modules they want in their package, and then it calculates the price automatically based on the features selected and the number of users.
Cons of using Sage HR
On the other hand, here’s the biggest drawback to Sage HR:
- No discounts for larger organizations — currently, Sage HR doesn’t offer discounts for businesses with a high number of employees. This might make it overly expensive for larger small businesses and those that plan to expand significantly.
What’s new in Sage HR?
Some of the most notable new features in Sage HR include:
- Timesheet editing via app — Android users can now access and edit information in the Timesheets module using the mobile app.
- Two-factor authentication — Sage HR introduced two-factor authentication to add another layer of security to their app and lower the risk of potentially damaging security breaches.
Available for: web, iOS, Android
|Sage HR’s modules
|Sage HR’s pricing
|Core HR + leave management
|$5.5/user per month
|$3/user per month
|$3/user per month
|$3/user per month
|$1.5/user per month
|$200 per month (flat)
How I picked the best HR software for small business
Now that I have gone over some of the best HR software for small businesses, I’ll present a quick look at how exactly I picked the solutions I presented here.
In short, the key factors I considered are:
- Ease of use
Factor #1: Features
The first and most important part of identifying the best apps in any niche or industry is their feature set.
For HR software, important features include:
- Time tracking,
- Performance metrics,
- Survey tools, and
- Legal compliance.
This is a wide feature set, and it’s difficult to find an app that covers everything in an optimal manner. As such, the apps I picked are either versatile or exceptionally good at handling a smaller selection of features.
Factor #2: Ease of use
Not everyone is tech-savvy, and that can be a problem in the rapidly changing workplace. If you wish to reach optimal productivity, the last thing you want is employees struggling to use needlessly complicated software.
So, I considered how user-friendly each software solution was. This included everything from how clean and intuitive the user interface was, to introductory tutorials designed to help new users get accustomed to the program.
Factor #3: Pricing
The cost is something that most people will take into account first when considering a new software solution for their business.
As such, I prioritized apps that were competitively priced and that offered good value for the money.
Factor #4: Scalability
Every successful business will inevitably grow, and it can outgrow the software you opted for originally. This can happen for a variety of reasons, from pricing increasing exponentially to a lack of certain features a company might need further down the line.
Migrating between 2 platforms with different feature sets can be a hassle. To minimize the risk of that happening, I prioritized software that can scale well with your business as it grows.
Factor #5: Support
No matter how easy a program is to use, personnel will inevitably run into issues. There might be a technical problem or they might need to figure out a feature that wasn’t covered in their training.
So, I also considered the quality of the support offered by each app I listed. This includes both customer support and knowledge bases that users can check for any issues they might encounter.
Why do small businesses need HR software?
The HR team is responsible for building, promoting, and nurturing the company culture. Additionally, the HR team shapes the way recruits and new employees view the company.
So, HR is crucial in attracting new talent and establishing a positive employee experience. This is why every company should make sure that their HR team has the best possible tools and resources to assist them in their work.
And, a very important tool in their work is the right HR software. Using cloud-based software can have many benefits to the everyday work of HR teams.
Out of 688 HR leaders that took part in PwC’s Human Resources Technology Survey and switched core HR applications to the cloud:
- 89% stated that they have greater control,
- 86% achieved greater productivity, and
- 82% said that they saved money.
Choose the right HR software for your business
HR software platforms are invaluable tools for businesses and companies that aim to optimize their employee management systems. They help HR teams in all stages of work and improve people management.
Since every business is different, not every HR software will suit every business’ needs. This article highlights the most important positive and negative sides of HR software tools, along with the pricing options.
If you’re a small business looking for a simple solution, you can’t go wrong with Plaky. It’s a versatile tool that offers a myriad of HR templates you can use to track your HR activities with ease.