HRBest HR software for your small business

Best HR software for your small business

Running your small business means juggling a lot of tasks and one of the most important is keeping effective HR records for your staff as your business grows. HR software makes this job easier, automating lots of the tasks to save you time, protecting the data to comply with privacy regulations, and managing holiday, roster, payroll and more.

HR (Human Resources) is normally responsible for payroll and employee payments, work and benefits administration, all the paperwork around company handbooks, employee contracts, etc. The specifics of what you need will depend on the type of business you run. 

For large business, there’s often a team of HR specialists using dedicated software to help manage the people-side of a business. However, this software is often very expensive, and generally not the best option for running a small business.

If you want to manage the HR side of your small business with ease, there’s a wide range of specialist software that’s designed to help and make it easy to carry out and even automate HR-related tasks.

Good HR software, when used right, can drastically improve the image, running, outlook, and returns of your small business and in this article, we have picked some of the best products available. We also highlighted some benefits and why they are the best choices for your online business. Of course, some of their drawbacks also, so you always venture in prepared.

Great HR Software: Top 5 Picks

Below is the roundup of our top five HR software platforms for your small business:

1. Citrus HR – Great for Core HR

2. – Great for Employee Self-service (project management)

3. ZohoHR – Affordable Core HR

4. Gusto HR – Great for Payroll

5. JazzHR – Great for Recruitment

1.  Citrus HR

Great for Core HR

 Citrus HR is a strongly recommended and easy-to-use tool for your small business. It is specifically tailored to small to midsize companies and offers little support to large enterprises.

The software features tools that help manage your employees fast and straightforwardly. It is cloud-based and can only be effective when you use it on the web.

It performs the essential duties of core HR software excellently with a clutter-free interface that you can navigate through easily.

For better workflow, there are integrations of some significant apps that you could already be using, like Quickbooks.

With CitrusHR, you can track your holidays (time off, maternity leaves, etc.), manage expenses, run payroll, and help with time management. It also features staff onboarding and development.

New hires can smoothly fall in place with your team with the complete onboarding process while you keep an eye on each person’s performance with the appraisal system. Further, the payroll feature is automated and keeps you updated with current laws and tax compliances.

Citrus HR offers excellent customer support that users have reviewed to be of great help for serious issues they were unable to handle. With their highest payment plan, you get full access to the HR support service from top HR professionals, a form of HR outsourcing.


  • User friendly
  • Responsive customer support
  • Recruitment and onboarding tools
  • HR outsourcing


  • No app version
  • No free trial
  • Reports of occasional glitches that interrupt workflow


Great for Employee Self-Service is a highly flexible platform for beginners in HR, and we consider it a top choice. It is an integrated platform so that you can customise it to the needs of your business and available budget. A bonus? As your business improves and grows, you can scale up as you desire without drastically changing what you are used to using.

As with all software requirements, if it is easy for you and your staff to set up, access, and operate, its value increases. gives one of the best user interfaces for software in this category. It is simple to understand, and since it’s flexible software, you can customise it.

The basics of cover most end-to-end functions, so you get all the advantages of core HR alongside Strategic HR. It can comfortably do task management and workflow creation to collaboration, automation, reports, hiring, training, etc.

Further, a good feature of the product is the integration with many third-party tools numbering over 40. Some examples are Trello, Upwork, Zendesk, and Excel.

What’s more? has a compatible option for use on mobile phones.

The price of this software falls on the medium plane, relatively. Of course, you do not have to jump headlong into its use. You can take advantage of their free trial to test the waters, see how it pans out for you, then decide if you want to continue with it or not.


  • Easy to use
  • Great collaborative tools
  • 14-day free trial
  • Configuration is flexible
  • Offers both strategic and core HR functions


  • Pricing is not flexible and can be considered expensive
  • Substandard task dependencies
  • Subtasks creation and linking with mainboards need improvements

3.  Gusto HR

Great for Payroll

For user-friendly software that eliminates all of your payroll difficulties, Gusto takes the top spot. It is a payroll management software ideal for your small business.

It has all the essentials that make payday as smooth, easy, and relaxing as possible.

There is also an ample amount of automations that ensures your employees get paid on time and that payments comply with tax laws and payroll practices.

You can set up various pay schedules, file taxes, and automate them. You can also manage and calculate your employee benefits. Thus, manual errors and issues of negligence are eliminated.

Of course, its services are broader than just payroll, and it also offers time tracking, which is necessary for employees who work remotely or by the hour.

Gusto HR also takes a cut in your recruitment and onboarding process by helping you eliminate the paperwork. Other things you can do with GustoHR include providing your team with employee self-service, finance tools, custom reports, tax filing, etc. The software also allows for integration with various popular apps.

It also offers a version that caters to business that works with contractors with the contractor-only version.

The site is easy to navigate and not overcrowded and, in the same vein, has a relatively mild learning curve.


  • Full-service payroll
  • Employee benefit management
  • Recruitment and onboarding tools
  • Offers employee self-service
  • User friendly
  • Offers contractor-only version


  • No mobile app
  • No tracking features
  • Integrations are limited

4.  Zoho People

Affordable HR

On a tight budget? Zoho HR is a great HR software to use. It is affordable, cloud-based, and a good starting point for small businesses. It scores good points in its recruitment and new hires onboarding functions.

Other excellent features are its training and performance management, appraisals, employee database, and workflow checklists. These core features can be upgraded and other features added with the higher priced plans.

The basic plan has no restrictions on the number of users, and what’s more? You can access it from your phone via the app.


  • Affordable
  • Great hiring software
  • Accessible via mobile
  • The basic plan allows unlimited users


  • Underwhelming payroll function
  • Customer service is sometimes poor

5.  Jazz HR

Great for Recruitment

Want to take complete and efficient charge of your hires? JazzHR takes the cake. Its unique design tailors to all a small business’s requirements for their recruitment, from job posts and screening applications to applicant tracking, interviews, and hires. Your HR personnel can customise and create the recruitment stages you want and add stakeholders with privacy levels and automations.

The software also has helpful hiring integrations like Indeed, Glassdoor, etc., so you can directly make posts. You can also take advantage of their SEO tools. Some of JazzHR’s best features are its applicant tracking, resume database and search, calendar management and sync, and background screening.


  • Easy to use
  • Good pricing
  • Best for hiring new talent


  • Limited features on employee management
  • No mobile app

Tips for Starters

As a startup with little to no experience, you may need to figure out why you need HR software and how to select one that works for you. Here is some knowledge to arm yourself with for better success in your small business.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.   Is it necessary to use HR software?

When you start your business, you may find yourself sufficient to handle hiring, organising, training, employee management, disciplinary actions, time tracking, etc. However, as the business grows and for further growth, it needs something that can sufficiently take care of these efficiently.

Utilising HR Software ensures your team functions at the proper pace and your activities are organised, leaving you enough time to attend to other facets of your business. The HR software will do this for you by managing these functions to your specifications and with automation where necessary.

Your employees can even use the self-service option for administering their benefits with little to no input from you. At the same time, the performance management tool helps you establish a standard review process.

Another benefit is your ability to easily stay in the loop with the differing and constantly changing regulations on taxes, reforms, and labour laws with this software solution. There is little room for error, and many automatically organise and update these.

Further, the business world is competitive, and it is crucial to seek ways to keep the talents you acquire. Having software that can help reduce costs and stress so there is more for your employee benefits, can help make your work conditions attractive.

2.   What are the types of HR software product?

There are three main divisions of HR software, depending on how you intend to use them for your business. These are Core, Strategic, and Integrated HR. A brief look into each will show;

Core HRs will help you perform all the principal administrative duties that will keep your employees managed. Thus, you have software solutions with functions like time tracking, scheduling, payroll, benefits, etc. It should, ideally, also have a self-service portal for their use.

Strategic HR has less to do with administration and more with hiring, training, and retaining talents for your business. These software solutions will help with recruitment and performance measurements/improvements (where necessary).

Lastly, integrated HR gives you the best core and strategic HR from end to end. Its functions are comprehensive and, thus, usually quite expensive. However, many sell as modules that you can scale up or otherwise, depending on your requirements.

3.   What should I look out for when choosing HR software?

 A simple answer will be what do you need right now? The expanse of HR solutions is vast, all with varying uses.

As a small business, you may need help allocating a considerable amount. So, choosing which works best for your most pressing need right now will be best. Most HR software providers (including our suggestions) provide room for upgrades.

This upgrade means in addition to the basics offered, you can add on some more/other functional tools when you want. Thus, choosing any HR software that best suits your business now and after that, upgrading as your business grows is a good plan.

A second thing to look out for is affordability. Will you be able to continue its use over time? We recommend you pick one that you can comfortably finance.

4.   What if I have a tight budget?

True, most functional HR software is not free and may, thus, pose a challenge if your business is operating on a tight budget. It can also pose a problem if you need more IT capacity.

Still, having a single person manage all HR duties, as is most times the case, can be very tasking for them. HR tasks are payroll, employee benefits, work time tracking, promotions, recruitment, query responses, etc.

If you are on a tight budget, accessing this software solution’s cost and benefit returns may be necessary instead of increasing your workforce. However, you can also choose a very cheap option to offset some duties; some notable ones are affordable with good functionality. A good suggestion is ZohoHR.

Another option to consider when on a tight budget is outsourcing. Outsourcing your HR


The purpose of HR software is to assist the administrator in their functions, simplifying and automating some. So, while there is less need for a dedicated HR staff, it is vital for someone(manager) to take the reins for the other tasks that may not be efficient for the software to do.

Good software can significantly increase the effectiveness and ease of your work. We recommend you choose one that caters to your pressing needs now.

Written by

Mark Hodgson
Mark Hodgson
Mark Hodgson is one of our expert writers. Mark is our lead researcher and editor who writes our main guides and expert topic coverage. He’s passionate about helping entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses with practical advice delivered clearly. Mark’s worked for a number of business magazines and titles and has started two small businesses himself, so has first-hand experience in setting up, managing and growing a small business and shares his expertise with our readers.

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