9 Best Employee Management Software for Small Business 2023

Best overall
Zenefits
Zenefits
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Starting from
$8.00/employee/mo.
  • pro
    Flexible packages
  • pro
    Free payroll with some plans
Best productivity tracker
Hubstaff
Hubstaff
4 out of 5 stars
4.0
Starting from
$5.83/user/mo.
  • pro
    Time and activity tracking
  • pro
    Transparent tracking tools
Zoho Projects
Zoho
Zoho Projects
4 out of 5 stars
4.0
Starting from
$0.00/user/mo.
  • pro
    Low per-user pricing
  • pro
    Lots of project management tools
Best for benefits
Gusto
Gusto
4 out of 5 stars
4.0
Starting from
$40.00 + $6.00/person/mo.
  • pro
    Add-ons for many kinds of benefits
  • pro
    Full-service payroll
Most customizable
Sage
Sage HR
4 out of 5 stars
4.0
Starting from
$5.50/user/mo.
  • pro
    Modular plan building
  • pro
    Variety of different modules

Data as of 12/20/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

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Bottom line: Zenefits is our best overall pick thanks to its versatility, solving both payroll and human resource (HR) tasks with extreme user-friendliness. Hubstaff is ideal for tracking employee on a minute-by-minute level, while Zoho Projects is top notch for project-centric teams. Finally, Gusto is perfect if employee benefits management is high priority, while Sage HR delivers super customizable plans.

Compare the best employee management software

Brand
Starting price per mo.
Free trial
Free plan
Software type
Learn more
$10.00/employee1 mo. bulletPayroll & benefits
$5.83/user14 days bulletTime tracking
$0.00/user10 days bulletProject management
$40.00 + $6.00/personN/A bulletPayroll & benefits
$5.50/user30 days bulletEmployee management
$29.99/location14 days bulletEmployee management
$39.00 + $5.00/employeeN/A bulletPayroll
Unlisted7 days bulletEmployee management
$7.00/user14 days bulletTime tracking

Data as of 12/20/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Zenefits: Best overall employee management software

Best overall
Zenefits
Zenefits
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Starts at
$10.00/employee/mo.
  • pro
    Comprehensive HR & payroll solutions
  • pro
    User friendly
  • pro
    Simple pricing structure

Data as of 12/20/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Zenefits offers the best workforce management solution for most businesses.

Why? Well, in part, it’s because Zenefits is more of an employee management system than a single tool. Zenefits offers a wide range of features that can help with all sorts of human resource needs.

Every plan comes with essential HR management tools, like the ability to create an employee database, to create offer letters for hiring, and to streamline employee onboarding with a self-service tool. All plans also come with scheduling, time off, and benefits administration tools. And with higher-tier plans, you can get payroll, human resource advice, performance management, and more. It’s a lot.

Zenefits software pricing

Plan
Cost per employee
Free payroll (with annual billing)
Performance management
Learn more
Essentials$8.00/mo. bullet bullet
Growth$16.00/mo. bullet bullet
Zen$21.00/mo. bullet bullet

Data as of 12/20/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Luckily, Zenefits balances all those great features with fair pricing. Even better, it offers a number of ways to get discounts. Opting for annual billing (rather than monthly) gets you a discount on the monthly price of each plan. Annual billing on the Growth and Zen plans get you free payroll. And Zenefits regularly offers special deals (often through the website’s chat) that can get you further savings.

Now, we have to admit that Zenefits may not be the best solution for any single HR function. Other software offers more advanced payroll features, for example. But Zenefits offers such a well-rounded suite of tools in such affordable packages that we think it’s a standout workforce management software.

So for most businesses looking for the best employee management software, Zenefits is where it’s at.

Get up to $26,000 back per employee with the ERC credit

If you use employee management software with payroll features like Zenefits, its likely you've reported your employees' salaries or wages on your taxes. Well, if you did this during the COVID-19 crisis, you can most likely regain some money back if you claim the Employee Retention Credit.

Hubstaff: Best for productivity tracking

Best productivity tracker
Hubstaff
Hubstaff
4 out of 5 stars
4.0
Starts at
$5.83/employee.mo.
  • pro
    Superior time and task monitoring features
  • pro
    User friendly
  • con
    Limited HR features

Data as of 12/20/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

A big part of managing employee performance is managing employee productivity―and that’s what Hubstaff excels at.

Hubstaff offers employee time and activity tracking (screenshots and activity levels) on all plans, so you can make sure workers (even remote employees) stay on-task and on-time. With more advanced plans (Pro and Enterprise), you even get GPS tracking, which lets you know that employees are also working from where they should be (perfect for employees visiting job sites).

Hubstaff software pricing

Plan
Cost per mo.
Payroll and invoicing
Integrations
Learn more
Free$0.00/user bulletNone
Starter$5.83/user bullet1
Pro$8.33/user bulletUnlimited
EnterpriseCustom bulletUnlimited

Data as of 12/20/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

But why choose Hubstaff over other employee productivity software? Transparency, for starters. Hubstaff’s software notifies employees when they’re being tracked, what’s being monitored, and even when screenshots are taken. That transparency makes Hubstaff less, well, creepy than other activity monitoring software. And employee data can be viewed by both HR management and employees themselves, encouraging self-accountability.

Put simply, Hubstaff’s transparency and effectiveness make it our favorite software for tracking employee productivity.

Zoho Projects: Best for project management

Best for projects
Zoho
Zoho Projects
4 out of 5 stars
4.0
Starts at
$5.00/user/mo.
  • pro
    Connects to other Zoho software
  • pro
    Affordable
  • pro
    Industry-specific project management perks

Data as of 12/20/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Want to make sure your workforce is getting through the projects it’s supposed to? Project management software like Zoho Projects can help.

We know that things like employee engagement don’t mean squat if your team can’t get essential work done. That’s why Zoho Projects has lots of features to help your workforce do just that―get stuff done. It includes tools to help your team strategize, track, and ultimately complete projects. For example, it lets your team create and assign tasks and subtasks, assign statuses to tasks, and get project overviews.

Zoho Projects software pricing

Plan
Cost per user
Users
Projects
Learn more
Free$0.00/mo.32
Premium$5.00/mo.1–50Unlimited
Enterprise$10.00/mo.UnlimitedUnlimited

Data as of 12/20/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Zoho Projects stands out from other project management software thanks to its very (very) affordable pricing. Higher-tier plans even get you more advanced project cost management tools, still at a surprisingly low price. Plus, Zoho Projects offers project templates to help your team to visualize and break down new projects, making Zoho Projects wonderfully user-friendly.

With affordable tools to keep your workforce organized and focused, Zoho Projects makes an ideal software for managing employee projects.

Gusto: Best for benefits

Best payroll perks
Gusto
Gusto
4 out of 5 stars
4.0
Starts at
$40.00 + $6.00/person/mo.
  • pro
    Superb payroll features
  • pro
    Beautiful interface
  • pro
    Plenty of employee benefit options

Data as of 12/20/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Planning on offering health insurance, a 401(k), or other benefits? Then you want Gusto, our favorite employee benefits administration software.

While Gusto bills itself primarily as a payroll software, it offers tons of benefits administration features. Health insurance administration comes standard with the Simple plan and above. (You will, of course, have to pay for premiums.) And while it doesn’t come standard, you can add on a health reimbursement tool to repay employees for some (or all) of their health care premiums.

Gusto software pricing

Plan
Cost per mo.
Payroll
Project and time tracking
Learn more
Simple$40.00 + $6.00/user50 states bullet
Plus$80.00 + $12.00/user50 states bullet
PremiumExclusive pricing50 states bullet

Data as of 12/20/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

But Gusto doesn’t stop at health insurance benefits. It can also help you offer a wide variety of account types, including 401(k) retirement accounts, 529 college savings accounts, health savings accounts (HSAs), and flexible spending accounts (FSAs). You can even offer commuter accounts to help with commuting costs.

In other words, Gusto makes it easy to offer employee benefits of all sorts, which is why we recommend it as the best software for benefits administration.

Sage HR: Most customizable plans

Best payroll perks
Sage
Sage HR
4 out of 5 stars
4.0
Starts at
$5.50/employee/mo.
  • pro
    Highly customizable
  • pro
    Straightforward pricing
  • pro
    Excellent time tracking solutions

Data as of 12/20/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Don’t want to pay for HR management features you don’t need? Then take a look at Sage HR and its highly customizable plans.

While most other employee management software comes in a few set tiers of plans, Sage HR uses a modular plan creation system. That might sound complicated, but it just means that you can pick and choose the price plan features you want. That way, you’re never paying for scheduling software features (for instance) when your entire team works 8 to 5 on weekdays.

Sage HR software pricing

Module
Cost/mo.
Module type
Learn more
Core HR + Leave Management$5.50/employeeStandard
Performance$3.00/employeeAdd-on
Shift Scheduling$3.00/employeeAdd-on
Timesheets$3.00/employeeAdd-on

Data as of 12/20/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

You start with Sage HR’s Core HR + Leave Management module (which includes things like an employee database and onboarding tools). From there, you can choose to add other modules to give you things like performance management (with goal setting and feedback tools) or scheduling (with a drag-and-drop scheduling tool). You can build the perfect plan for your specific HR management needs.

So if you don’t want to be on the hook for an HR function you don’t care about, you’ll love building your own management software solution with Sage HR.

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Honorable mentions

7shifts: Best for restaurants

Restaurants run a little differently than other types of businesses, which means a typical employee management system may not work for your restaurant. That’s why we recommend 7shifts instead.

7shifts software pricing

Plan
Cost per mo.
Max. employees
Payroll integration
Learn more
Comp$0.00/location10 bullet
Entrée$29.99/locationUnlimited bullet
The Works$69.99/locationUnlimited bullet

Data as of 12/20/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

7shifts was designed with restaurants in mind. That’s obvious in everything from its per-location (not per employee) pricing to its employee scheduling features (including notifications for new schedules) to its task management add-on (which lets you display a task list when employees clock in). Advanced plans even get you labor budgeting and compliance tools.

With such thoughtful features just for food-industry businesses, 7shifts is our favorite software solution for restaurants.

Paychex: Best for compliance

Paychex offers a variety of employee management services (including benefits administration, scheduling, and human resource consulting), but we mostly like its payroll plans for their excellent compliance features.

Paychex software pricing

Plan
Cost per mo.
Integrations
HR administration
Learn more
Flex Essentials$39.00 + $5.00/employee bullet bullet
Flex SelectUnlisted bullet bullet
Flex EnterpriseUnlisted bullet bullet

Data as of 12/20/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Paychex payroll offers everything you need to stay compliant with legal requirements. It includes reporting for new employees and contractors, for example, as well as automatic tax documents (W-2s and 1099s) for employees. Paychex also takes care of your payroll taxes on your behalf. And it even sends you all the posters you need to stay compliant with federal and state labor laws.

So if you want great payroll services with an emphasis on legal compliance, Paychex offers a great software option.

BambooHR: Best for hiring and onboarding

Growing your workforce? BambooHR makes hiring and onboarding easier for your HR department―and your applicants.

BambooHR software pricing

Plan
Cost per mo.
Hiring and onboarding
Software integrations
Learn more
EssentialsUnlisted bullet bullet
AdvantageUnlisted bullet bullet

Data as of 12/20/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

BambooHR offers excellent hiring and onboarding tools. Take its applicant tracking system. Aside from letting you see important info at a glance, BambooHR lets your team communicate and collaborate on hiring decisions―even commenting directly on applicant profiles. Or look at its employee onboarding tool, which includes not just standard forms, but also a way to introduce new hires to other employees.

And those are just some highlights. BambooHR has all the essentials (and extras) you need to perfect your hiring and employee onboarding.

DeskTime: Best for time tracking

Time tracking can help a lot with performance management. And for a simple, affordable time tracking software, we recommend DeskTime.

DeskTime software pricing

Plan
Starting price
Max. users
Learn more
Lite$0.00/user/mo.1
Pro$7.00/user/mo.Unlimited
Premium$10.00/user/mo.Unlimited
Enterprise$20.00/user/mo.Unlimited

Data as of 12/20/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Paid DeskTime plans include time tracking for both employees and projects. The employee time tracking can help with improving individual employee productivity, of course. But the project time tracking can also help you make sure your workforce is managing its time well as a whole. As an added bonus, DeskTime’s Premium and Enterprise plans let you use time tracking data to create and send invoices.

So though DeskTime doesn’t have tons of extra management tools like some HR software does, its time tracking makes it a worthwhile addition to your software collection.

The takeaway

You’ve got quite a few choices for workforce management tools, depending on whether you’re concerned about employee records, payroll, attendance tracking, or other HR tasks altogether.

Our suggested software above can help with those HR management duties and more. We think Zenefits offers the best employee management solution for most businesses, but all of our recommendations have a lot to offer.

Good luck streamlining your employee management!

Is your business one of the many that’s gone even partially remote? Give your workforce the tools it needs to succeed with the best collaboration software for business.

Employee management software FAQ

The best performance management system, or best HR software, really depends on your specific human resource needs and the type of business you have. A restaurant that mostly needs to make employee schedules, for example, will want different software than a marketing company that needs powerful applicant tracking and benefits administration.

That’s why our rankings above include recommendations for all kinds of HR software.

Staff management software, or an employee management system, can refer to any software that helps you, well, manage employees. It may include HR functions like these:

  • Payroll
  • Productivity monitoring
  • Scheduling software
  • Employee engagement
  • Performance management

In most cases, though, an employee management system refers to software that includes an employee database to collect vital information about your employees.

How do I choose employee management software?

When you’re choosing an employee management tool for your business, you should think about a few factors:

  • What HR management functions you need (payroll, scheduling, etc.)
  • Who will actively use the software (just HR managers or your whole workforce)
  • What your software budget can afford

Those factors should help you narrow down the field from all the employee management tools out there to just the management software that will fit your business’s needs, use cases, and budget.

Methodology

We carefully analyzed each software title's customer service quality, ability to handle large workforces, value for the money, scalability, feedback from real users, and optional add-ons (such as payroll), among other factors.

Disclaimer

At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.

Chloe Goodshore
Written by
Chloe Goodshore
Chloe covers business financing and loans for Business.org. She has worked with many small businesses over the past 10 years, from video game stores to law firms. Those years watching frustrated business owners try to sift through their many options gave her a passion for breaking down complex business topics. She wants to help business owners spend less time agonizing over their businesses so they can spend more time running them.
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