Best HR Tools for Fast-Growth Companies

Patrick Ward Patrick Ward Follow Jul 17, 2021 · 11 mins read
Best HR Tools for Fast-Growth Companies

A colleague of mine has a company with a 350+ workforce.

The other day we were having lunch here in LA’s Silicon Beach. She said something that stuck with me:

HR tools and software are borderline useless for startups. But after year one, they’re the highest ROI investment you will make.

Coming from someone who’s raised 10X more money than most people make in a lifetime, you can bet I put down my salad fork and listened closely.

The benefits of modern HR software tools include:

  1. Thousands of dollars per month in staffing efficiency.
  2. Millions of dollars per year in regulatory and legal defense savings.
  3. Hundreds of hours per week in employee impact, thanks to streamlined benefits and low-hassle onboarding.

If you’re purchasing for the first time, be sure to review my key features roundup that explains how to compare your options.

Top niche software by HR function

For this roundup, I’ll break down the best tools trending in 2021–2022 by functional area.

Best HR Tools for employee management and recruitment

The following are software companies specializing in employee management and recruitment. Primary features of this software include most or all of the following:

  • Job posting and management
  • Recruiting and applicant tracking
  • Interview management and assessments
  • Onboarding
  • Employee management and succession planning


  • Location: USA
  • Founded in: 2014
  • Description: Breezy HR is end-to-end recruiting software designed to optimize your recruiting process


  • Location: USA
  • Founded in: 2012
  • Description: Workable is a hiring platform, where companies can find, evaluate, and hire candidates

Best HR Tools for Training and development

The following are software companies specializing in training and development. Primary features of this software include most or all of the following:

  • Learner management system
  • Learner portal
  • Video conferencing
  • Interactive learning
  • Synchronous and asynchronous learning
  • Assessments


  • Location: USA
  • Founded in: 2013
  • Description: 360Learning platform combines collaborative tools with a Learning Management System (LMS) and allows for onboarding of new employees, training of customer-facing teams, and professional skill development


  • Location: USA
  • Founded in: 2012
  • Description: TalentLMS is a fully customizable and easy to manage LMS

Best HR Tools for Scheduling and time tracking

The following are software companies specializing in scheduling and time tracking. Primary features of this software include most or all of the following:

  • Employee database management
  • Scheduling
  • Budgeting and forecasting
  • Attendance, time capture and tracking, overtime, and time off management
  • Payroll management and reporting
  • Reporting/analytics


  • Location: AUS
  • Founded in: 2008
  • Description: Deputy is an all-in-one workforce management solution that simplifies employee scheduling, timesheets, tasking, and communication


  • Location: CAN
  • Founded in: 2014
  • Description: 7shifts is an employee scheduling and management software designed for the restaurant industry

Best HR Tools for Payroll and Benefits

The following are software companies specializing in benefits and/or payroll. Primary features of this software include some combination of the following:

  • Onboarding
  • Time tracking
  • Payroll management and reporting
  • Employee benefits management and administration
  • Tax compliance
  • Reporting/analytics


  • Location: USA
  • Founded in: 2011
  • Description: All-in-one people platform with payroll, benefits, and more capabilities. This tool is particularly popular for running payroll to remote teams within the US.


  • An Intuit company
  • Location: USA
  • Founded in: 1983
  • Description: Offers accounting, bookkeeping, payment, payroll, time tracking, and inventory software

Best HR Tools for Workforce management

The following are software companies specializing in workforce management. Primary features of this software include most or all of the following:

  • Agile methodologies
  • Project planning and tracking
  • Resource and capacity management
  • Scheduling
  • Budgeting and forecasting
  • Communication and collaboration tools


  • Location: USA
  • Founded in: 2016
  • Description: Fully customizable task management software to plan, organize, and collaborate


  • Location: Remote
  • Founded in: 2012
  • Description: Float is a resource management platform that gives you an accurate view of your team’s capacity, so you can plan, track, and optimize how work is assigned

Best Professional employer organizations (PEOs)

The following are software companies specializing in PEOs. Primary features of this software include international capabilities in most or all of the following:

  • Onboarding
  • Time and expense tracking
  • Payroll management and reporting
  • Employee benefits management and administration
  • Tax compliance
  • Other legal compliance (including contracts and other documentation)
  • Employer of Record


  • Location: USA
  • Founded in: 2018
  • Description: Deel is a global payroll solution which helps businesses hire independent contractors or full-time employees in over 150 countries, compliantly, and in minutes

Globalization Partners

  • Location: USA
  • Founded in: 2012
  • Description: Globalization Partners offers an AI-driven, automated, and fully compliant global Employer of Record platform to hire anyone, anywhere, quickly and easily

Best comprehensive HRIS/HRMS software tools

The following table lists providers of comprehensive (or nearly comprehensive) HRIS/HRMS software. This includes offering most or all of the following:

  • Recruiting and applicant tracking
  • Onboarding
  • Employee management and succession planning
  • Scheduling
  • Attendance, time capture and tracking, overtime, and time off management
  • Payroll management and reporting
  • Employee benefits management and administration
  • Reporting/analytics


  • Location: USA
  • Founded in: 1949
  • Most comprehensive software: ADP Workforce Now
  • Specialties: Human Capital Management, HR BPO, Payroll and Tax Services, PEO, Talent Management, Tax and Compliance, Benefits Administration, Payment Solutions, and Time and Attendance


  • Location: USA
  • Founded in: 2008
  • Most comprehensive software: BambooHR
  • Specialties: HRIS/HRMS Software, Employee Self-Service, Talent Management, Human Capital Management, Applicant Tracking System, Company Culture, Employee Engagement, and Payroll


  • Location: USA
  • Founded in: 1992
  • Most comprehensive software: Dayforce
  • Specialties: Onboarding, Payroll, Performance Management, Time & Attendance, Benefits, Document Management, Workforce Management, Dashboards, Recruiting, Learning, Succession Planning, and On-Demand Pay

  • Location: Israel
  • Founded in: 2012
  • Most comprehensive software: platform
  • Specialties: Project Management, Collaboration, Team Management, Communication, Production Tracking, Team Collaboration, and Work Management


  • Location: USA
  • Founded in: 1971
  • Most comprehensive software: Paychex’s comprehensive, enterprise-grade software
  • Specialties: Payroll and Payroll Tax Services, Benefits Administration, Time and Labor, PEO, ASO, and HR Outsourcing


  • Location: USA
  • Founded in: 1998
  • Most comprehensive software: Paycom’s comprehensive software
  • Specialties: Payroll Processing, HRIS, Benefits Administration, Time and Attendance, Talent Acquisition, Talent Management, Learning Management, Human Capital Management, Employee Self-Service, and Employee Engagement


  • Location: USA
  • Founded in: 1990
  • Most comprehensive software: Human Capital Management (HCM) platform
  • Specialties: Payroll Management, Time & Attendance Solutions, Tax Filing & Compliance, Employment Screening Services, Human Capital Management, Applicant Tracking System, Onboarding, Recruiting, Learning Management System, and Benefits Administration


  • Location: USA
  • Founded in: 1997
  • Most comprehensive software: All-in-one Paylocity software platform
  • Specialties: Human Capital Management, HRIS, Payroll and Tax Services, HR Compliance, HR Data Analytics, Talent Acquisition and Retention, Employee Engagement, Workforce Planning, Onboarding, Employee Training and Learning, Performance Management, Employee Scheduling, Salary Planning and Budgeting, Benefits Administration, Time and Attendance, PEO, Learning and Development, Employee Recognition, Video Learning, and Expense Management


  • Location: USA
  • Founded in: 2016
  • Most comprehensive software: All-in-one Rippling system
  • Specialties: Payroll, Benefits Administration, Time and Attendance, Talent Management


  • Location: USA
  • Founded in: 2020
  • Most comprehensive software: UKG Pro
  • Specialties: Benefits Administration, Workforce Management, Time and Attendance, Scheduling, Payroll Administration, and Tax Management


  • Location: USA
  • Founded in: 2005
  • Most comprehensive software: Workday suite
  • Specialties: Financial Management, Human Capital Management, Payroll, Expenses, Time Tracking, Procurement, Recruiting, and Planning


  • Location: USA
  • Founded in: 2013
  • Most comprehensive software: Zenefits platform
  • Specialties: Workforce Management, Payroll, Compliance, and HRIS

Top comprehensive Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software

The following table lists providers of ERP software. ERP software is typically comprehensive and integrated for an entire organization’s operations rather than just one specific department. By going this route, you’ll avoid cumulative costs and issues related to piecing different software together. Therefore, all you’ll need to do is fill in the software gaps that are important to your particular business. This software offers most or all of the following:

  • Project management
  • Inventory management
  • Purchasing and receiving
  • Billing and invoicing
  • Financial management
  • HR management (including many or most of the HRIS/HRMS capabilities)
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and marketing automation


  • Location: USA
  • Founded in: 1975
  • Most comprehensive software: Dynamics 365
  • Specializations: Business Software, Windows Operating System, Windows Applications & Platforms, Cloud Computing, Productivity, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning


  • Location: USA
  • Founded in: 1977
  • Most comprehensive software: NetSuite
  • Specializations: Business Software, Applications, Database, Business Intelligence, Primavera, PeopleSoft, EPM, BEA, Hyperion, Retek, Utilities, Server and Storage Systems, BPM, ERP, CRM, JDE, and Siebel


  • Location: England
  • Founded in: 1981
  • Most comprehensive software: Sage X3
  • Specializations: Business Software, Business Intelligence, Payment Solutions, Accounting Software, People Management, Sage Business Cloud, Sage Software, Payroll Software, Software Applications


  • Location: Germany
  • Founded in: 1972
  • Most comprehensive software: SAP Business One
  • Specializations: ERP, Financials, Business Intelligence, Procurement, HCM, SCM, and Analytics


  • Location: India
  • Founded in: 1996
  • Most comprehensive software: Zoho One
  • Specializations: Collaboration and Business Productivity Suite, CRM, Network Management, Enterprise IT Management, Social Media Management, Invoicing, Accounting, Email Marketing, Business Software, and Customer Experience

Primary choice criteria for HR software for small companies

When you’re deciding on HR tech tools for startups to medium-sized businesses, there are numerous criteria that need to be considered. Some of these primary choice criteria include:

  1. Affordability: Consider the monthly and total costs of all modules, hardware/infrastructure, integration, and ongoing service/support (including staffing requirements); you should also consider the relevant cost savings (e.g. from consolidating to one software provider).
  2. Ability to integrate: Consider if you’re able to integrate the software as-is or if it requires more/different hardware and/or changes to systems and software. This includes considering compatibility with other software and the software’s ability to receive your current data via import.
  3. Has needed functionality: Consider your company’s unique needs and if the software meets them. For example, if your company is suited to have a punch clock (e.g. a factory), the software must integrate and allow for time tracking via a punch clock.
  4. Scalability: Consider if the software is capable of meeting your needs both in the short- and long run (including if your company grows beyond expectations).
  5. Capable of being used and serviced: Consider if you have sufficient in-house human capabilities to use and service the software; that is, if it’s too complex for current staff, it may require the hiring of people with greater technical ability or ongoing service and support from the software provider. Opt for greater user-friendliness, access to training and/or reference manuals, and lower staff and ongoing service/support requirements.
  6. Long-term stability: Consider the age and history of the company and the likelihood of the software (and its successors) existing as you grow. Opt for companies that have a long and stable history, have a strong financial position, and continue to be innovative (either through internal development or via acquisitions).
  7. Other characteristics: Consider other characteristics like security, remote accessibility, and others that are specific to your organization.

Primary features for HR tech tools for small companies

There are many different features that are important to HR software for growing companies. Some of the most commonly desired features include the ability to:

  • Store, access, and submit HR-related documents
  • Perform HR planning
  • Recruit, select, and hire new employees
  • Manage an employee database
  • Manage scheduling, time, attendance, absence, and leave
  • Manage and process payroll and benefits
  • Manage employee performance
  • Train and develop employees (including e-learning)
  • Track and report analytics and customized data (including compliance-related reports)
  • Receive automatic updates (including compatibility with other software/systems and notification and meeting of new legal requirements applicable to your business type and region)
  • Receive important notifications (e.g. of deadlines, expiring contracts, upcoming performance reviews, etc.)
  • Have employees self-serve

Summary and Final Recommendations

As you’re going through the final steps of your decision, make sure you ask to try out and/or see demonstrations of the software that you’re most interested in. HR software provides specialize in enterprise sales, and even small companies can benefit from their willingness to do hands-on demos and onboarding for potential clients.

During the process, include employees who will be using the software and solicit feedback to help you make your choice. Finally, once you’ve made your choice, be sure to schedule adoption and integration of the software away from critical time periods, like tax season, year-end, and other busy seasons, to ensure a smoother transition.

Now that you’re equipped with the information you need, it should be much easier to choose the right HR software and tools for your fast-growing business.

Patrick Ward
Written by Patrick Ward Follow
Hi, I'm Patrick. I made this site to share my expertise on team augmentation, nearshore development, and remote work.
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