Best HR Software for Startups & Small Businesses

As a small business owner, you may not afford to hire a team of HR professionals to manage the tedious task of human resource management such as hiring, onboarding, running payroll, etc. 

But, you can have an HR software that helps you streamline all the HR tasks by automating repetitive tasks and saves you a lot of time. 

You can also allow employees to mark their attendance, raise inquiries, track hours, and claim benefits by clicking a few buttons. This helps you improve people management, increase productivity, and reduce your organization’s attrition rate. 

In this article, we’ve hand-picked some of the best HR software that you can use for employee management, including remote teams and contractors. 

If you are ready, let’s get started. 

1. Deel

Deel is a global HR software built exclusively to hire remote teams. It lets you hire the best talents & contractors worldwide across 150 countries hassle-free. 

Deel has its vast network of 200+ local expert partners that ensures every hire is compliant with regional laws & tax rules so that you can quickly onboard team members from anywhere in the world.

Whether your team size is 50 or 500, you can review and pay everyone within seconds in their local currency. All it takes is one bulk payment. You can also distribute payslips after every paycheck. 

It also gives your team members a centralized view, where they can view and manage contracts, time off, expenses, benefits, and more in the simplest way possible.

Deel is a powerful HR software that uses a tech-enabled process to hire full-time remote employees or independent contractors globally with proper regulatory compliance and offers competitive employee benefits based on their location. 

Pros of Deel – 

  • Worldclass payroll & compliance for global teams 
  • Scales up as your company grows 
  • Easy to use and great UI 
  • Onboard teams within minutes
  • Send employment contracts that are compliant with local laws
  • Manage bonuses, expenses, time-off
  • Airtight localized agreements 
  • Automate HR Workflows with numerous integrations

Cons of Deel – 

  • If payments get failed, it can be complicated 
  • Pricing is quite expensive

Pricing Plans – Deel has two separate plans for hiring –

  • Hiring Employees – $599 per employee/month – Payroll, tax fillings, expenses, pensions, localized benefits package, fund payroll
  • Hiring Contractors – $49 per contractor/month – Generate & sign locally compliant contracts, manage payroll, onboarding, pay with over 120 currencies, & automatically collect country-specific documents

2. Gusto

By empowering 2,00,00+ businesses, Gusto is the most popular HR software for small businesses with modern functionalities. You get everything – payroll, employee benefits, hiring resources, time tools, checklists, talent management, all in one software. 

Gusto helps you in hiring by publicly posting a job, tracking applications, and sending a customized offer letter immediately once they get selected. This eliminates paperwork and gives you complete control over the onboarding process. 

It also provides time tracking tools, compliance paperwork filing, anonymous surveys, and virtual org charts for users on the higher plans.

With Gusto, you can also run payroll for your team by paying via direct checks or pay cards. The best part is that it automatically calculates taxes and files them to the proper government agencies. However, Gusto doesn’t support non-US team members. 

Overall, Gusto is an excellent HR software for small businesses. It provides a hassle-free user experience and enables you to set up a smooth HR system for your team. 

Pros of Gusto –

  • Full-service payroll including W-2s & 1099s
  • Time tracking & PTO management
  • Next-day direct deposit 
  • Automated payroll that runs itself 
  • Paid time-off policy tracking
  • Instantly generate workforce cost reports 
  • Retain talented employees 
  • Access to free Gusto Wallet 

Cons of Gusto – 

  • Does not support non-US employee payroll services 
  • Incurs an additional fee per person 

Pricing Plans – Gusto has pricing plans for all sizes of businesses with different requirements. Here are the 3 major pricing plans offered by Gusto – 

  • Core Plan – $39/month + $6 per employee monthly – Full-service payroll, employee profiles, Gusto-brokered health insurance, employee benefits, and friendly support 
  • Complete Plan – $39/month  + $12 per employee monthly – Core Plan features + next day direct deposit, time tracking, hiring & onboarding tools, performance reviews, project tracking
  • Concierge Plan – $149/month + $12 per employee monthly –  Complete Plan features + HR resource center, Compliance alerts, Access to unlimited HR experts, dedicated support

In addition to these, it also offers a Contractor-only plan at $6/contractor. It is best for businesses with no permanent employees. 

3. Oyster HR

Oyster HR is a global HR software that lets you hire and pay cross-border team members. It has got you covered with everything, from onboarding A+ candidates to saving time with built-in compliance – it does all the heavy lifting for you. 

Oyster lets you offer employee benefits such as equity and medical benefits. It can also help you run payroll by automatically sorting all the local deductions, taxes, and contributions based on their regional jurisdictions. 

It also offers free tools for calculating employee cost index, contractor risk assessment, equity assessment, self-serve global benefits tools, and more, which lets you expand and manage your team globally in 180+ countries with empathy and care for them.

Pros of Oyster HR –

  • Forever free plan 
  • Automate payroll based on hiring country’s currency
  • Help from a dedicated legal expert team
  • Approve & reimburse expenses 
  • Bonus and commission tracking 
  • Intellectual property protection 
  • Automated contractor hiring
  • Extended health insurance to teammates across 180+ countries

Cons of Oyster HR – 

  • Customer support could be improved
  • Onboarding time varies by country, making it difficult to estimate the start date.

Pricing Plans – Oyster HR has a free plan that allows contractor hiring in 180+ countries, localized pay in 120+ countries, invoice & expense management, global HR tools & Oyster Health Add-on. For hiring employees, you’ll have to upgrade to the paid plans – 

  • Business Plan – $399/employee/month – full-time employee hiring in 130+ countries, end-to-end global payroll, built-in legal, tax, privacy compliance, time-off management, liability insurance, health add-on, knowledge center
  • Enterprise Plan – Custom pricing – Business plan features + custom global compliance support and dedicated hiring success team 

4. Bambee

Bambee is the first outsourced HR compliance solution for small businesses. You can hire a dedicated HR manager at an affordable cost to help you with employee conflict resolutions, onboarding, terminations, federal & state HR compliance, general HR policy, and assistance. 

Besides, it also helps in automating your HR operations for effortless employee management. You can identify HR gaps, keep your staff compliant, and ensure that your employees sign all your core and protective policies via automation. On top of all, over 100k American employees have benefitted from this automation. 

Recently Bambee launched its Guided Payroll. It is the first-ever payroll product with built-in HR support. You’ll enjoy 2-day direct deposit, automatic handling of taxes, and guidance from your HR manager on wage & hour regulations.

Thus Bambee is a one-stop solution to humanize your HR operations by providing a certified & experienced HR professional. It is catered to handle companies with less than 500 employees. 

Pros of Bamboo – 

  • Available in over 50 states 
  • Unlimited direct chat with HR Manager 
  • E-signatures for important documents 
  • Manage unemployment claims 
  • Smart Cabinet for record-keeping 
  • Automated staff training & development
  • Annual & comprehensive HR audits 
  • Avoid costly miscalculations 

Cons of Bamboo – 

  • No free trial is available. 
  • Payroll is free for companies with less than 19 employees only.
  • Pricing can be steep for companies with fewer employees.

Pricing Plans – Bambee’s pricing plans are based on the number of employees –

  • 1-4 Employees – $99/month 
  • 5-19 Employees – $199/month 
  • 20-49 Employees – $299/month 
  • 50-500 Employees – Custom Pricing 

However, there’s an additional fee incurred on all the plans for a one-time Bambee in-depth HR setup. 

5. Breezy

Breezy is an end-to-end HR recruiting software designed to amp up your recruiting process at scale. You can post vacancies on carrier sites, job boards, evaluate & engage with candidates, and collaborate with your team on the hiring decisions. 

One of the most challenging aspects of the recruiting process is filtering candidates to pick the best one. Breezy makes this a cakewalk by letting you review more applicants via automation. 

From sending messages to scheduling interviews, it lets you automate almost every step of the process. Also, Breezy will automatically advance or disqualify candidates based on their answers, so you can quickly sift through the recruitment process. 

Once the candidate is selected, the onboarding process becomes simple and fast. You can generate and send the offer letter and perform background screening within days. And the best part is that all of these processes are GDPR-Compliant.  

On the whole, Breezy eases your recruiting process by organizing and automating critical tasks, letting you bring the best talents on board with less time.

Pros of Breezy – 

  • Unlimited users & candidates 
  • Branded career & employee referral sites 
  • Top-class resume parsing 
  • Fully customizable recruiting workflows
  • Self-scheduling for candidates 
  • Built-in text messaging & email 
  • Browser-based live video calling
  • Automated reference checking 
  • Customizable scorecards
  • Manage anywhere via mobile app 

Cons of Breezy –

  • The overall UI can be improved for better usability
  • Free plan gives access to limited features 
  • Time options & filters could work better while scheduling availability. 

Pricing Plans – Breezy has a free plan that lets you design customizable career sites, post on 50+ job boards, automation, multi-language support, resume parsing, and customer support. The details of paid plans are as follows –

  • Startup Plan – $171/month – All free plan features plus candidate automation, questionaries, customizable pipeline stages, live videos, task management, interview self-scheduling, video assessments
  • Growth Plan – $299/month – All Startup plan features plus automated reference checking, interview guides, e-signatures, scorecards, messenger support, external recruiter support 
  • Business Plan – $479/month – Full-fledged access to all the core HR features of the tool 

Breezy also offers a 14-day free trial with no credit card required. So you can signup and try out how it accelerates your recruitment process.

6. Remote

Remote empowers small businesses to pay and manage employees & contractors worldwide across 60+ countries. Its leading global employment solutions cover international payroll, benefits, taxes, and compliances. On top of all, it doesn’t charge percentages or fees, only one low flat rate to control your budget.

No matter your employee’s location, you can deliver a personalized experience. You can pay in their local currency (as per local regulations), offer country-specific statutory benefits, additional perks like insurance or healthcare, and also support visa & immigration requests in certain countries. 

Remote is just a unified software to manage all your needs – you can even source the right talent agencies, recruiting firms, trusted partner apps, integrations, etc., via its marketplace. You can search and join hands with the best & trusted partner to cope with evolving HR trends & challenges. 

Pros of Remote –

  • Free contractor management tools 
  • IP and invention rights are fully protected
  • Personalized service from HR & legal experts
  • Consolidate payroll processing 
  • International payments & expense management 
  • Offer equity-based compensation to your team members
  • Access to competitive benefit packages 

Cons of Remote – 

  • Remote’s contractor management generates only 1099 tax forms
  • Customer support only via email 
  • Does not have time tracking functionalities

Pricing Plans – Remote has free contractor management. You can onboard international contractors, pay on time, manage documents in a secured platform, and automatically approve recurring contractor invoices.

Its pricing plans range from $299-$599/month per employee when billed annually based on the country selection and $349-$699 if billed monthly. By signing up for the yearly plan, you can unlock the first employee free offer for 12 months.

7. GoHire

GoHire is an all-in-one HR recruiting software for small businesses packed with 100+ powerful tools to simplify your recruitment process. You can integrate GoHire with your website, social channels & job boards to source potential candidates and take full control over the hiring pipeline.

With GoHire, you never have to worry about hundreds or thousands of applications hitting your job portal. Using its advanced filters, ratings, and search options, you can easily target the specific candidates, filter the disqualified and select the applicants for the interview with less effort. 

Now comes the best part – the automated hiring process. You can ensure that everyone is in sync with each pipeline stage. Moreover, you can search through the database quickly, nurture candidates, and schedule interviews within no time. This boosts the productivity of your teammates and candidates as well. 

Thus, GoHire lets you focus on hiring the best talents to expand your business potential. It makes everything streamlined so you can manage everything in one place seamlessly.

Pros of GoHire – 

  • Ensures 99.99% uptime 
  • Easy 2-minute setup 
  • Publish job posts on 15+ free & premium job boards
  • 700+ free job description templates 
  • Customizable branded career pages 
  • Manage candidate communications via smart inbox 
  • Unlimited team members 
  • Save time via bulk actions and messages 
  • Customizable pipeline stages 
  • Dedicated GDPR settings 
  • Mobile-friendly application forms 
  • Advanced analytics and reporting 

Cons of GoHire – 

  • Most of the key features are accessible only in the highest plan 
  • You cannot interview candidates via video 
  • Limited set of integrations is available 

Pricing Plans – GoHire has 3 pricing plans – 

  • Starter Plan – $89/month – 3x active job posts, interview schedular, calendar sync, customizable pipeline stages, unlimited team members, and other standard features   
  • Growth Plan – $150/month – All Starter plan features plus 10x active job posts, talent pools, application form editor, bulk actions, team inbox, @mention team members
  • Pro Plan – $290/month – All Growth plan features plus unlimited active job posts, automated stage actions, selection questionaries, interview scorecards, career page editor, reporting, audit log, Slack/Zapier integration, and priority support

GoHire also offers a 14-day free trial on all of the paid plans. You can use this opportunity to test and decide which plan best fits you.

8. Freshteam

Having trusted by 7000+ businesses, Freshteam is a popular HR software that has got you covered with everything you need to set up an HR system for your team. It reduces recruiter workload by 75%, allows for paperless onboarding/offboarding, securely stores confidential data, and manages time off tasks – under one roof.

Its applicant tracking system breaks down the entire chaos – it facilitates one-click posting to sourcing channels, automates resume screening, gets all the candidates’ records, lets you create custom hiring workflows, schedule interviews, and enables you to present your feedback. 

Once the candidate is hired, Freshteam alerts you with onboarding checklists to keep you organized and hassle-free. This speeds up the process and cuts down a hell lot of time. Thus three to four hours spent onboarding will now take only 15-20 minutes, so employees can find more time to interact with their new peers.

Apart from the hiring and onboarding features, Freshteam also helps you with holidays and employee time-off management. It allows you to create different leave policies for multiple locations and create a flow for their respective managers’ approval or rejection of leave requests.  

Pros of Freshteam – 

  • Forever free plan
  • Multiple onboarding and offboarding checklists 
  • Manage unlimited employee documents 
  • Simple to advanced career site customizations 
  • Define automation rules via event, condition, actions
  • Implement simple approval workflows 
  • Easy time-off management for employees
  • On the go access via mobile app 
  • 24×7 free email and 24×5 chat & call support 

Cons of Freshteam –

  • Can help with income tax proof submission 
  • Does not offer salary slips to employees

Pricing Plans – Freshteam has a free plan that allows upto 50 employees, 3 published job postings, a basic career site, team collaboration, email integration, employee referral, mobile app, basic time-off management, etc. 

Now let’s have a detailed look at the paid plans –

  • Growth Plan – $1.20 per employee +$71/month – All Free plan features plus upto 20 job listings, customizable career site, applicant form, custom interview scorecards & kits, vendor management, recruiting automation, upto 2 time-off policies, etc
  • Pro Plan – $2.40 per employee + $119/month – All Growth plan features plus upto 100 published jobs, social recruiting, advanced customization, talent pool management, job requisition management, offer management, sponsored job postings on indeed, unlimited time-off policies, etc 
  • Enterprise Plan – $4.80 per employee + $203/month – All the Pro plan features plus custom user roles, unlimited onboarding/offboarding checklists, access restrictions based on IP, custom URL& SSL certificate, one-click data export

Freshteam also offers a 21-day free trial in which you get access to all the features in the Enterprise plan. If this feels like a good fit, you can signup and start exploring the core HR functionalities for free. 

9. Pilot

Backed by Y Combinator, Pilot is a fully functional HR Software that helps US-based small businesses to hire remote employees and contractors worldwide. You can onboard employees across 160+ countries without setting up a local entity and pay them instantly with optimal exchange rates and zero hidden fees. 

Speaking about contractors, you can send payments to them across 240+ countries with no markup fees. The best part is the payments directly go to their bank accounts so they can withdraw money easily without wasting money on withdrawal fees for e-wallets.

It also automatically collects tax forms from your contractors, handles mandatory filings for employees, and ensures your contracts are locally compliant.  Since it specializes in working with US companies hiring abroad, all the contracts are reviewed by both US and local lawyers. 

Overall, Pilot is easy-to-use and saves a lot of your time. You can even use one login for multiple profiles if you use Pilot for more than one company or entity. 

Pros of Pilot –  

  • No transaction fees for paying contractors 
  • Amend, terminate or issue new contracts 
  • Optimized for KYC verification 
  • International HR guidance
  • Manage employee documents in one place
  • Built-in expense management
  • Immigration assistance for employees & dependents

Cons of Pilot – 

  • It does not have a mobile app 
  • The UI could be updated for better usability 

Pricing Plans – Pilot has two separate plans for contractors and employees. The pricing plans for onboarding employees are –

  • Employee Plan – $349/month/employee – hire in 160+ countries, no setup of the local entity, locally compliant contracts, no setup fees, and other competitive benefits. 
  • Employee Plus Plan – $499/month/employee – All Employee plan features plus fully customizable contracts, additional payment options, no deposits required, and an assigned customer success manager. 

For handling contractors, the plan costs $29/month. You can pay in 70+ local currencies across 240+ countries, enjoy optimal exchange rates, W-8 & W-9 tax form collection & 1099 filing, locally compliant contracts, and health insurance.

You can also schedule a demo for all the Pilot’s paid plans to get a clear idea of how it works. 

10. Zoho People

Zoho People is a popular HR software that broadens your workforce by delivering an employee-first experience. It has been trusted by world-leading brands like Zomato, SpiceJet, Renault Nissan, etc. You can access all the employee records like salary slips, holiday calendars, and other details at your fingertips. 

As an HR, you’ll have to monitor and unleash your employee’s potential by working on performance management. However, you must encounter many data points to give a credible review. With Zoho People, you can set KRA, goals, track skill sets, and evaluate your employees with behavioral metrics. 

This makes it easier for you to tap into your employees’ core strengths and award them the salary hikes they deserve. 

Bottom line, it is a one-stop solution to all your HR needs – from managing your core HR needs to getting 360° feedback. Thus you can stay productive, bid goodbye to boring spreadsheets, and ensure consistency in all your HR processes.  

Pros of Zoho People – 

  • It has an attractive UI 
  • Affordable pricing plans 
  • Structured onboarding process for recruits
  • Smart HR workflows 
  • Schedule shifts instantly 
  • Secure file cabinet to store your documents 
  • Built-in LMS to train employees
  • Biometric Integration 
  • Advanced Reporting 
  • 24×5 free email support on all plans 

Cons of Zoho People –

  • Limitations with combining two different leaves on the same day
  • Payroll system is not available

Pricing Plans – Zoho People has a free plan that allows upto 5 users. You can run essential HR functions and get access to the employee database and time-off management. 

To unlock premium features, you must upgrade to the paid plans – 

  • Essential HR Plan – $2.50/user/month – employee onboarding, employee database management, HR files management, multi-level approvals, module-based reports, workflow management, ZIA, employee self-service, etc
  • Professional Plan – $3.50/user/month – Attendance marking, People Kiosk, Biometric integration, shift rotation & scheduling, IP & Geo-restrictions, time tracking, job scheduling, timesheet management, etc
  • Premium Plan – $5/user/month – Performance appraisals, KRA, Goals tracking, skill set matrix, self-appraisals, multi-rater review, advanced HR analytics
  • Enterprise Plan –  $5/user/month  – employee query management, cases SLA tracking,  self & blended learning, discussion forums, assessments, etc 
  • People Plus Plan –   $10/month    –  Access to an advanced integration with other Zoho apps such as Zoho Recruit, Zoho Payroll, etc., 

Zoho People also offers a 30-day free trial with no credit card required. 

Which is the best HR Software for your business?

Choosing the right HR software entirely depends on your team size and what you want to achieve from it. If you are looking for an all-in-one HR software that helps you manage the current team and hire candidates worldwide, Deel or Oyster can be the best options to consider.

On the other hand, if you want HR software just for US-based teams, Gusto would be perfect for your team. 

The bottom line is that all the listed software is best in class and brings something unique to the table for your business. It is all up to you to figure out which one fits the best as per your business needs. 

Finally, here are our top recommendations for HR software – 

  • Deel – Overall Best HR Software with a global payroll system
  • Freshteam – Feature-rich HR Software for hiring and onboarding
  • Gusto – Best HR software for US-based teams
  • Oyster – Best Global HR software with a Free plan
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