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Best HRIS Systems – 2021 List of Top 15 HRIS Tools

by Arthur Zuckerman

The majority of HR functions involve a lot of data recording and management. While spreadsheets have been the most efficient way to handle data in the past, wading through a large database can overwhelm even the most experienced HR staff. And with storing data, having an HR manager or assigned team to be the only ones who have access is not the smartest and most secure way to store important company information. Without proper data storage, it becomes vulnerable to data attacks and breaches.

Outdated systems are also prone to human error, not to mention time-consuming to manage. But with an efficient tool like HRIS Systems to simplify the process, employees can update their details and information changes, while executives and managers can pull their reports in real-time when making important decisions for the company.

Choosing an HRIS is a major undertaking. As you create a checklist of features for your business, you should also watch out for a poorly designed UI, frequent system crashes, and other potential issues that you may encounter with the system. Apart from that, realizing that providing adequate user training, and ensuring that both employees and executives adapt to the HRIS in a fast, yet manageable speed, play a vital role in implementing the system to your employees.

All things considered, it costs a business a lot more by using outdated processes than investing in software solutions to combat modern HR hurdles. If the issues we mentioned seem familiar to you, then you know that it’s time to invest in HRIS. And that’s what we are discussing here today. In this article, we’re giving you an overview of HRIS, the features of an HRIS system, and the top software solutions to consider.

What are HRIS Systems?

HRIS Systems (or Human Resource Information Systems) is a primary tool in HR that serves as a centralized database that collects and stores company and employee data. It is a software package meant to perform an efficient execution of the end-to-end functionalities that make up HR management.

HRIS Systems tracks all the information that concerns its employees and in one location; it enables major users to create reports and identify trends to help with business decisions. The software combines different systems and processes to ensure that it frees the HR management of recurring tasks and manual data entry among many things. It gives them room to focus more on people and skills-related assignments.

List of Best HRIS Systems

All of these HRIS Systems have different quote-based plans. Pricing will depend on the size of your company and the requirements that you discuss with the vendor. 

  • Ceridian DayForce: A flagship single cloud HCM platform ideal for small businesses. It combines human resources, payroll and benefits, workforce management, and talent management capabilities. It’s a one database solution so there’s no need to migrate data from one system to another. One of its key features is the continuous calculation throughout the pay period giving HR enough time to adjust calculations before each pay.
  • APS Payroll and HR: A cloud-based workforce management platform that provides payroll and human resources services for business solutions and is ideal for small and medium-sized companies. It includes benefits administration, Affordable Care Act Tracking, as well as Time and Attendance Tracking.
  • Namely: One of the simplest HR solutions with a user-friendly interface that offers time tracking features, reporting, as well as a mobile app. It is best for small to medium-sized companies and will require a bit of technical assistance for workflows and onboarding templates.
  • BambooHR: A cloud-based HR software service for small and midsize businesses. It has the best ATS system, on-boarding, and PRO tracking system and other HRIS tools to manage all aspects of the employee lifecycle.
  • SyncHR: A single-source core HR payroll and benefits solution. It is best for midsize to a large business that provides a real-time solution across functional areas within the application. Tech businesses, financial services, and retail will find this solution the best option available.
  • SAP Success Factors: An HCM suite that emphasizes experience, therefore calling it HXM or human experience management rather than human capital management. To do this, it combines feedback and operational data, engages corporate learning experience, connects people and departments so they can easily consult experts to get more work done. It also enables HR to provide employees’ continuous performance management with guided action planning to track improvements. American Airlines and Sitel are just two of the successful companies using this suite.
  • Zenefits: A cloud-based all-in-one HR platform combining core HR functions, payroll, benefits management, scheduling, and more. Zenefits is ideal for small and mid-size companies that need an affordable HR suite to safeguard compliance errors and government filings, employee journey management, and compensation management. The Essential Plan starts at $8 per month per employee while the Growth Plan starts at $14 per user per month. The Zen Plan starts at $21 per user per month.
  • Netchex: From talent management, benefits administration, payroll, analytics, and reporting, Netchex delivers value for the price. It offers pre-built packages based on HR subclusters. The Core Plan focuses on payroll and tax even accounting for different payment methods for freelancers and part-timers. The Connect Plan provides services on recruiting and onboarding with their systems such as NetGuide, NetRecruiter, and NetInsight. Other plans offer services for compliance and benefit compliance. You can also create your customized plan and combine these packages.
  • Gusto: An all-in-one platform that combines payroll, team management, and time tracking tools. But what sets Gusto apart from employee solutions is its benefits management which makes setting up a healthcare plan, retirement plan, college funds, and even tax-advantaged savings accounts easy for employees. The Core Plan that already includes payroll, employee profiles among others starts with a base plan of $39 per month plus $6 per user per month. The Complete Plan offers a base price of $39 per month plus $12 per user per month. The Concierge plan starts with a base price of $149 per month plus $12 per user per month. 
  • Rippling: An all-in-one modern platform that combines HR and IT keeping all employee, department, and role records, even computers, passwords, and docs in one single location. The pricing plan for Rippling starts at $7 per user per month with a core platform plus different integrations for HR and IT. 
  • ADP, LLC: HCM Solutions provided by ADP is tested within different industries from healthcare, government, manufacturing, retail, financial services, and others. ADP scale with you from small businesses requiring affordability and simplicity, to enterprise organizations that are looking for secure and reliable solutions.
  • Workday HCM: A single system platform that provides complete visibility over the company’s workforce. This is not only to keep employees engaged but also to keep them growing with the company. With its reporting and analytics features, you can quickly derive what metrics are driving the intended results.
  • Paychex: Offering innovative solutions even for businesses as small as a team of 9 or less. Paychex recognizes the elaborate and time-consuming process of filing taxes, computing time and attendance, and managing all kinds of paperwork. And even for enterprise organizations, Paycheck prevents you from being bogged down from daily tasks. Paychex is also an excellent choice for solopreneurs who want to save on taxes and plan well for retirement.
  • Kronos Workforce Ready: Throughout the customer journey, from recruitment, hiring, onboarding, managing, compensation, Kronos Workforce Ready has a complete HCM suite that makes this process effortless. 
  • Zoho People: A cloud-based HR Solution that provides a 360-degree view of organizations of all sizes. It is best suitable for the workforce with different shifting schedules, as they can use time logs that automatically convert as timesheets. They also can send inquiries which the HR can easily answer in the same system.
Ceridian DayForce Dashboard

Ceridian DayForce Dashboard

How HRIS Systems Work

HRIS Systems can either run on their infrastructure or through the cloud. It combines HR functions with technology designed to lift the burden of the HR department’s role. As a software package, it comprises several components such as payroll, applicant tracking systems (ATS), onboarding process, benefits administration, time and attendance, paid time-off tracking, and performance management. All HR processes involve data management, which forms part of what HRIS systems can do. By simplifying how you record and track data can ensure data accuracy and reducing manual errors.

HRIS, while it does most HR functions, cannot completely replace HR. HRIS cannot fully profile an applicant’s capability and employee’s viability for promotion. A computer can use parameters to filter applicants easily, but a human can do holistic profiling, one that involves taking previous job experiences, soft skills, and behavioral attitude into consideration. 

Types of HRIS Systems

It can be hard to distinguish between these two different types of HRIS solutions as they are terms used quite interchangeably, with one solution encompassing some functions of the other.

HCM Solutions

HCM (or Human Capital Management) is designed to maximize employee performance which aligns with the objectives of the business. Performance assessment, goal setting, employee onboarding and anything to involves an employee’s life cycle should fall under this category. 

HRMS Solutions

HRMS (or Human Resources Management Systems) refers to HRM processes that involve information technology to speed things up. Any applications that fall under the category of managing employees such as payroll, time and labor, personnel tracking, employee schedules, recruitment, benefits administration are included in an HRMS solution. However, even performance assessment and goals planning can fall under HRMS Solutions, but they are not as comprehensive as HCM. 

Namely Dashboard

Namely Dashboard

Features of HRIS Systems

These are the most common features you can find in an HRIS Systems:

Employee Database and Directory

A complete directory of employee profiles keeps records of personal information, current position, job and salary history, and other company-related benefits which will enable HR to track such details when needed. 

Company-related documents

Document Management Systems (DMS) and HRIS integration make the best tool for companies that have compliance requirements such as employee training. As it stores files in the cloud, you can easily pull the records in a matter of a few searches. This provides a better way to store data than keeping them in paper files and folders. Integrating both systems also makes sure that they follow regulations.

Benefits administration

Benefits administration is a time-consuming process that includes creating the program, enrolling employees in the program, assigning benefit tiers, communicating with suppliers, creating invoices, tax computation, computing included benefits against hire date, attendance, and total hours worked. Having a small team to manage a large workforce will take months to finish. With HRIS with benefits administration functionality, the process can be done through automation and can even add multi-plan options.

Performance Management

An HRIS integrated with this feature can provide easy access to performance review. With goals to devise a plan to keep valued members of the team engaged, KPI objectives are set. Sometimes, employees are even allowed to set their own goals. Having progress measured by numbers and made accessible to employees can encourage them to gauge their performance and do better.

Applicant Tracking and Resume Management

Time is crucial when it comes to acquiring new talents. Outdated systems are one of the reasons that valuable candidates get snatched by another company with a more efficient hiring system. The right HRIS will have an applicant tracking system that stores candidate profiles, set metrics to filter out applications, and even have resume management techniques to efficiently find the right candidates for the role.

Employee Self Onboarding

You can provide a stress-free and efficient onboarding system where new hires can explore benefits, payroll, and other policies that they need to know as early as day one. This can affect how quickly they can adapt to their roles.

Employee Self Service Portal

HR gets a lot of payroll-related questions and leaves approval a lot of the time. By granting your employees access to a self-service portal, they can monitor payroll, check calendars to file and plan their vacation leaves, and submit documents in the portal when required. On the other hand, if they need hard copies of their monthly pay, they can easily extract the data from the portal, too. This is a huge time-saver for the HR department as employees are no longer reliant on them for such tasks. 

APS Payroll and HR Dashboard

APS Payroll and HR Dashboard

Time-off tracking

Paid time-off, absence tracking, and holiday leave computation can be messy if handled manually. The more so when the company allows employees flexible schedules and offset hours. Rather than assigning a team to handle approval, you are better off automating this with an HRIS Systems which automatically computes paid and unpaid time off requests against rendered hours.

Benefits of HRIS Systems

Database organization

The database provides information on just about anything the company needs to track and analyze their employees, former employees, and applicants. The HRIS System can handle employee directory and company-related documents. It can also record attendance, seminars, and training attended in the previous quarter, performance, disciplinary actions, and other key performance indicators that can help the HR department determine high-performing employees to grant them the right incentives.

Streamlines HR processes

Employees can update their details and information changes in employee self-portal. Apart from that, automating payroll computation, benefits administration, and other tasks the frees HR staff more valuable time that they can dedicate to the more strategic functions like culture and employee experience.

Cutting-edge solutions that make work easier

HRIS integration offers employees tools to work remotely, manage schedules on mobile, as well as collaborate with teammates on a certain project. Straightforward and convenient solutions give employees the satisfaction to work in the company.

Create accurate reports

HRIS is also useful for creating reports be it employee personal records, compliance, training completion, finance-focused reports, etc. It can also provide outcome-focused reports which include talent management, corporate culture, and expenses.

Factors to Consider When Comparing HRIS Systems

When looking for an HRIS Systems, these are the considerations that you should not forget to discuss with your vendor:


Software solutions meant to improve your business process should mean it is capable of doubling your company size and profit. Even if you are composed of a small team today, you can have twice as many in the future with an improved HRIS. Pick a system that will grow with your business.


Make sure that components of any add ons or additional systems work together flawlessly. Otherwise, it can cause the system to crash or load poorly.

Training and Support

A lot of companies seem to think that the hard work ends after choosing the system and setting up the integration. But you cannot proceed to properly implement the system without providing adequate training and support answering user-related questions


It’s not enough to have a system that offers hundreds of feature integration if it’s not customizable to your standards and company requirements. These are questions that you should ask the vendor before deciding to purchase an HRIS system. 

Latest Trends in HRIS Systems

Looking into HRIS in the coming years, here are some trends we can expect:

1. AI Recruitment Process

Automated recruitment task; HR software outfitted with AI can review top application that has made it through the filtering process; and even interviewing candidates; saves time and mitigate the potential for discrimination as skills and background are selected by numbers. AI is less likely to reject a candidate because of name, accent, demeanor, than human interviewers; ranking systems can also be built into virtual interviews

2. Emphasis on Collaboration

Digital collaboration tools; company exclusive social feeds to encourage teamwork and peer relationships. HRIS also provides tools enabling employees to work efficiently with the team even when they’re working remotely.

3. Internal Promotions

Armed with data trends, the HR department can easily spot which employees make the best candidates for promotion. Rather than scouting new talents, employers see the merits of developing employees that are already working for the company who already has an idea of the business and one that they are already familiar with.

Potential Issues with HRIS Systems

Here are some issues encountered with HRIS systems that you also should consider when buying:

1.  Frequent system crashes

Frequent system crashes can discourage employees from using it altogether. They may think the cause of delay waiting for the system to load is just a waste of time. Before moving back to old processes, try asking for the vendor’s help in troubleshooting. Another case could be that the HRIS infrastructure is too large and your current systems cannot handle it or the way around.

2. Difficulty retrieving information between systems

Again, tech experts can help with this issue by troubleshooting the system and spot-checking what’s causing the problem. But if all else fails, it could just be that the chosen HRIS System is not compatible with your current systems and you will need to scout for a better one.

3. Rushed Implementation

There may not be issues with integration, but you’re still not seeing HRIS as an effective tool. One of the possible reasons is that you have introduced the system without letting users gradually adapt to the process. A rushed implementation may not be a smart move especially if you’re making a huge change in the operations. Rules may not be as clear and specific. This could be addressed by again hiring a team to spot check the process. Lastly, by providing adequate training to users.

4. Inadequate Training

Lack of training is another potential issue with HRIS. Even the best HRIS cannot function to its best performance if users aren’t provided the proper training. Consider holding different training strategies such as providing modules, conducting classroom-style training which allows employees to take a break from their usual office work and focus on learning instead. They can also be comfortable asking relevant questions if they are in a classroom setup. It’s also a crucial step to address skill gaps or identify role-based training for each employee.

The HR Department is the company’s backbone and valuable decision-makers. Equipping them with the right tools to become more efficient helps not just your business operations, but also current employees and future ones. As the demands of the workforce are changing, how you handle employees requires up-to-date administrative management. 

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