Your employees are the lifeblood of your business, which is why you need an HR department to maintain their records and create comprehensive reports using the data you’ve collected about them. However, we know that not every business can afford to maintain their own internal HR department, particularly if you’re still a small business with only a handful of employees.
That’s where core HR software comes in. While nothing will replace the effectiveness of a dedicated HR team, core HR software can help you manage your employees’ records whether you’ve got one or 100 people working for you.
Core HR software is a vital toolkit that covers all of the standard tasks your HR department would usually be charged with. At their heart, core HR software allows you to manage your employees’ records in a central database, as well as manage payroll and benefits, monitor attendance, and manage employee leave. Some of these software solutions also include self-service intranet websites where employees can access their records and submit leave requests.
With such a wide range of features available with core HR software, there are multiple HR software solutions available to suit every kind of business. So, whether you’re managing the HR tasks for a handful of employees, or you have a small HR department taking care of your business, there’s core HR software on the market for you.
Let’s take a look at the best core HR software platforms.
ADP Run is specifically designed to help small businesses save time and money with their HR management processes. This robust core HR software package combines payroll, tax, compliance, and hiring tools into one comprehensive package. Plus, if you want to introduce an employee perks package, ADP Run has tools to help you manage this.
ADP Run is designed specifically for small businesses, meaning that it has all the features that small businesses need with none of the bulk. Their payroll system automatically makes pre-tax deductions for you before generating paychecks and depositing them in your employees’ bank accounts, making it easier for you to manage your payroll when you don’t have a dedicated HR department to do it for you.
ADP Run only works in the US, meaning that if you hire remote employees overseas, you’ll struggle to integrate them into your payroll. There’s also no free trial, and you might find the basic plan is too limited for your needs if you need payroll features like child support benefits.
You have to contact ADP Run directly for a quote, however, they’re currently running an offer where you can claim three months of ADP Run for free when you sign up for one of the payment plans.
ExponentHR’s core HR platform allows you to collect real-time data about your employees and your business’ activities, allowing you to get a better understanding of how your business operates day-to-day. As a web-based self-service technology, ExponentHR is a great option if you’re managing HR yourself or only have a small HR team available to you.
ExponentHR users like how scaleable this software is, which has allowed them to focus on growing their business without needing to worry about their HR solution.
ExponentHR’s software covers more than just payroll with its tools for employee engagement and onboarding. Because it primarily works as a self-service platform, it’s great if you want to give your employees more tools to manage their own data, time-keeping, leave requests, and more. It’s also easy to set user roles within the platform, so you can give certain employees more ability to manage elements of your HR for you.
It’s often difficult to find the feature that you’re looking for on ExponentHR’s dashboard as the menu and labeling aren’t often clear enough. ExponentHR uses pre-built report sets, and while you can configure your own reports to some extent, this software solution is limited if you need to generate reports on specific sets of information. There’s also no free trial for you to determine if this software has the tools you need.
ExponentHR’s pricing wasn’t available on their website, so you have to contact them directly for a demo and a quote.
Rippling’s powerful core HR software covers your payroll, hiring, HR, and IT, making it a great all-round solution for employee management. This platform claims it can help you to onboard new employees within 90 seconds thanks to its automation software that enrolls new employees on payroll, your benefits package, and more.
Rippling users love how easy and intuitive this software is, and report that it helps them save both time and money managing their HR processes.
Rippling has nearly every tool any small business could ever need, allowing you to take care of your entire employee pipeline through one piece of software. Unlike other core HR platforms, Rippling helps you to manage your employees’ devices and apps, so you always know where your hardware is and who has access to what software. Their employee engagement platform is also a great way to help coworkers and other employees stay connected.
With so many features available, there may inevitably be tools that aren’t needed by small businesses or businesses within certain industries. However, Rippling claims that you can purchase access to certain tools only if you need them.
Rippling costs from $8/user/month, but you have to contact them directly for a quote.
Bambee was designed to help small businesses access an HR professional without having to pay to hire one in-house. Unlike the other platforms we’ve covered, Bambee gives you access to a dedicated HR manager who takes care of your payroll, compliance, hiring, employee management, and more for you. Each of these HR professionals is certified by Bambee themselves, so you’ll only ever pay for seasoned professionals.
Your Bambee HR professional takes care of your compliance and tax for you, and they can help you to understand the Department of Labor laws that pertain to your business. Because they’re a fully outsourced HR team, they can also navigate sensitive discussions and high-risk HR situations like terminations. Not only that, but they’ll coach you through the process so you can avoid expensive lawsuits.
Bambee is significantly more expensive than the other core HR platforms we’ve reviewed, meaning that it may not be affordable for small businesses. While your employees can contact your HR manager during working hours, there’s also no self-service platform.
Bambee starts at $99/month for up to four employees, rising to $749/month for up to 99 employees.
Gusto describes itself as a “people platform”, with tools to help you manage payroll, HR, benefits, engagement, onboarding, and more. On top of that, Gusto also offers health insurance and 401(k) management tools for both you and your employees, as well as an app that helps your employees manage their finances. You also get direct access to certified HR experts with their concierge plan to help you avoid expensive compliance mistakes.
Gusto is one of the most comprehensive core HR platforms available on the market, giving both you and your employees the ability to manage every aspect of the working day. Gusto Wallet and Cashout, and their upcoming Debit Card service helps your employees to manage their paycheck without needing other third-party software. Their concierge plan is also a great option if you want access to an HR professional for additional help with compliance and other legal issues.
Some users report that the help documentation can be confusing. Also, Gusto’s tools for managing employee leave don’t scale well with organizations that have unlimited PTO policies.
Gusto’s basic plan starts at $39/month for their core plan, with options to add more people to your plan starting from $6/month. They also offer a Basic plan for $19/month, but this is currently in beta testing.
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