hr software guide

The Ultimate Guide to HR Software

Businesses big and small are turning to HR software for its cutting-edge automated abilities. The right human resource management systems can streamline processes, fight inefficiency, and boost productivity — making it a worthwhile investment for your company.

But human resources software doesn’t only help sort out paychecks or file employee information. You can revolutionize your HR strategies with the right tools. No more time wasted on coming up with DIY digital solutions for benefits administration, recruitment, or finances.

Need proof that this kind of automation is in demand? The global HR software market is expected to reach $10 billion by 2022.

So how do you pick the right software to meet your needs? This article will outline everything you need to know about HR software — its benefits, features, and costs. You’ll also get an overview of one of the best options available today.

The global HR software market is expected to reach $10 billion by 2022.

What is HR software?

HR software streamlines many human resources management tasks — from onboarding to payroll to benefits administration — into one or multiple tools. You can develop recruitment strategies, maintain performance management, track work time, and manage employee data and finances with HR software.

HR software (such as recruiting software or an applicant tracking system) makes manual tasks digital via automation. What used to require hours of paperwork for an HR team can now be finished in minutes. This can save your company and its hiring managers time, money, and resources.

recruiting software

How much does HR software cost?

The cost of HR software will depend on several different factors, including its features, type, and capabilities. Fortunately, many HR software options offer free trials to help give you a feel for the program.

Before purchasing, you’ll have to examine your company budget. You’ll also need to consider other contributing costs like installation fees, employee training and onboarding, and HR technology support.

Depending on these factors, human resources software can cost anywhere from a few dollars a month to several hundred.

However, keep this in mind: HR software can save you thousands by allowing your HR reps to focus on big-picture tasks. Even better, staff can make more data-driven (and cost-focused) human resources decisions. This type of software offers analytics and reports that provide insight into task productivity.

hr software dashboard

The benefits of HR software

HR software can give companies a competitive advantage, but what exactly can you expect when you start using it?

1. Reduce time spent on administrative tasks

One Career Builder report found that HR managers lose 14 hours a week performing tasks without using automation. Such duties include updating employee skills, posting job openings, revising company policies, and implementing performance management tools.

Can you imagine what you could do with that free time? You could focus on building company culture or improving employee engagement, which are two endeavors that can help recruit and retain team members long-term.

2. Eliminate human error

Human error is a part of every company’s operations. In the HR department, this could mean inputting the wrong employee data, hourly rates, or benefits plans. These errors can lead to even bigger issues, both financial and legal.

Automation eliminates these errors, saving you from headaches and corrections later on. Automation is especially great when it comes to taking care of repetitive tasks like simple data entry or sending out reminders to complete a training course.

3. Improve employee data organization

Let’s admit it: Employee data organization is difficult. HR professionals have to organize details all along the entire employee lifecycle. This includes employee benefits, onboarding steps to follow, employee salaries, and time and attendance tracking.

Automated HR solutions improve organization. Human resources employees aren’t forced to keep up with an overload of paperwork. All necessary information is stored in one place for everyone to view. This also helps non-HR employees, who can access the cloud-based HR software to find their own answers.

4. Streamline processes

When you choose HR software that helps with multiple functions of an HR team, you gain efficiency and time savings. You can simplify everything from hiring to helping employees with retirement planning, especially when these things are all part of a system that works together.

If you’re using scheduling software, for example, you can streamline the process by setting up recurring shifts or adding time off requests directly through the same app. Some apps even tell you when shifts are late or missed, streamlining your attendance tracking for you.

5. Comply with laws and regulations

HR compliance software makes it much easier to keep up with laws and regulations. The same app might provide payroll and tax compliance, help ensure compliance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and offer resources for HR pros to stay up-to-date.

Even better, HR software enables you to track compliance-related information such as hours worked, breaks taken, or overtime. Inaccurate time tracking can lead to penalties and fines, so it’s important to track hours well.

Types of HR software

By now, you know the basics of HR software and its many benefits. Next up is knowing what types of HR systems are out there.

Human resources information systems

Human resources information systems (HRIS) software takes care of your core HR functions with a focus on data and record-keeping. More advanced options can help with tracking applicants and managing payroll. You can use HRIS software in conjunction with other software or on its own.

Average monthly price per employee: $145/user per month based on this report

Human resources management systems

Human resources management systems (HRMS) is considered the most comprehensive software. It includes all the features of other HR systems, plus payroll solutions and time and labor management. You can see it as the “main player” in HR software.

Average monthly price per employee: $6 to $495 for highly advanced options

Human capital management software

Human capital management (HCM) software is thought of as a suite of products used to manage people. Everything under the people management and performance management umbrella is included here. Using HCM, you can master talent acquisition, management, and optimization. For your current staff, HCM offers employee performance reviews, employee sentiment, and employee engagement for the entire employee lifecycle.

Average monthly price per employee: Since HCM can combine multiple products, you can look toward the higher end of the HRMS range: $6 to $495 for highly advanced options

Talent management systems

With talent management system (TMS) software, you can keep track of the many pillars of talent recruiting. Think learning management systems, compensation, and performance management. A TMS helps HR professionals find and retain the best talent out there so they can avoid bad hires — one of the biggest losses in costs for HR departments.

Average monthly price per employee: $10 to $20, with enterprise options up to $5,000/month.

Applicant tracking systems

An applicant tracking system (ATS) streamlines the entire hiring process for your company. This includes posting job openings and gathering and filtering applications by educational institutions or work history. Once you’ve narrowed down your dream candidates, the ATS will take care of the rest. It can send automated emails for scheduling and even follow-ups.

Average monthly price per employee: $4 to $7 on average.

time tracking for HR

Time tracking software

You no doubt know the struggle. You have countless employees keeping track of their time worked for you. You have to gather these hours and input them manually into timesheets. One wrong entry could lead to endless hours spent solving a discrepancy. Or it can lead to you paying an employee the wrong amount.

Time tracking software does away with these headaches by tracking all time spent throughout the workday. Employees can start and stop the timer while the app runs in the background. It even gives insight into which tasks were most productive and which were time-wasters.

Average monthly price per employee: $5 to $20

Top HR software features

While features will vary among different software tools, these top features will give your HR department the most time and cost savings.

  • Applicant tracking: As mentioned earlier, applicant tracking systems help speed up the hiring process. The best ATS will also help you with interview scheduling, feedback, and hiring success.

  • Performance management: This feature helps with clarifying, tracking, and measuring employee performance. Think of this as your performance review sidekick. With performance management systems, you can detail job responsibilities and priorities, outline job expectations, and hold better performance reviews for better employee engagement.

  • Benefits administration: This allows you to manage employee benefits such as health insurance, vacation days, retirement planning, or family leave. New employees will love this feature because it’s easy for them to check in on benefits without having to message the HR team. They can easily view balances and benefits details without bothering a colleague.

  • Time off management: Speaking of vacation or leave, the time off management feature gives HR professionals and employees a convenient place to handle time-off requests. Employees can send requests, and HR staff can easily communicate their approval or denial.

  • Scheduling: A scheduling feature isn’t just related to employee shifts. You can also schedule holidays, office closings, first days, and interviews.

  • Time and attendance tracking: This can help you track employee attendance and time worked. The best systems offer automated notifications for shifts and attendance, so the information comes to you. Not the other way around. The reporting that comes from these features helps to assess labor costs and improve your ability to make financially sound decisions.

  • Payroll management: Payroll features not only take care of paychecks, but they also help you calculate taxes and salaries.

How to create a business case for HR software

At this point, you know what HR software’s benefits are. The next challenge is presenting a case to get leadership buy-in so you can start using the ideal HR tool for you.

Research is key in a great HR software presentation. Prepare your presentation using the following steps:

1. Identify benefits

Get as specific as possible. Yes, HR software increases productivity and saves time, but for whom? When? How? Examine the benefits not only through the frame of HR but also for other departments. This helps show individual and team engagement.

76% of HR leaders say their employee onboarding efforts are "underutilized."

Are there specific pain points for any of these departments that software will solve? It helps to focus on the disadvantages of having no HR software. How is your company being hurt by HR staff performing manual tasks?

Aim to gather impactful statistics or relevant factors to drive the point home. Consider, for example, that 76% of HR leaders say their employee onboarding efforts are “underutilized.”

2. Prepare use case examples

Use case examples act as a form of proof. Instead of examining how software helps with every stage of the HR process, pick one or two cases. This will allow you to go into deeper detail and show how the software will be implemented.

A good example is the step-by-step process of applicant tracking systems. HR wastes many hours on manual tasks during the applicant tracking and recruitment process, from sending out individual emails to following up with top candidates. An ATS can automate tasks like finding job boards with suitable candidates. The system will then gather and post all job details for you.

Following this, it will sort out candidates based on the best fit. An ATS can also communicate with candidates, streamlining how you set up interviews and letting them know the expectations.

The only time an HR member has to get involved is during the interview itself. Not only does this ensure the task gets completed faster, but it also helps you choose only the best candidates.

3. Create an implementation timeline

An implementation timeline breaks the process down into actionable steps. Focus on showing why the HR software will be a success through a detailed timeline. Divide the implementation by the number of employees required and time and cost estimated, so there are no surprises.

For this step, it also helps to get as specific as possible. You can choose to stick with the same example you used in the previous step for consistency.

create implementation timeline

You can create an implementation timeline using programs like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. The most important things to include in your timeline are how long onboarding might take and when you might start seeing the benefits.

4. Demonstrate ROI

Demonstrating the projected return on investment is a surefire way to garner support. Crunch the numbers to see how much time your current HR system costs the company.

Do the same for how much time it would take and how much it would cost for the same tasks if they were automated. Compare costs and come up with an impressive number. A high ROI will pique everyone’s interest, especially stakeholders.

5. Get stakeholder buy-in

Getting stakeholder buy-in can make all the difference. Before presenting your case, think about what stakeholders may ask. Contemplate their pain points and what your software can do to fix them.

For example, perhaps your company is growing rapidly, and your current HR system is overloaded with onboarding tasks. HR software can automate most onboarding duties to reduce the time spent on the little tasks that can slow down your growth.

If you aren't sure what questions could come up, think about questions you could ask them instead. This initiates interest and discussion. If you have stakeholders invested, chances are that others will become invested as well.

Most importantly, getting stakeholder insight can help you choose the best HR software solution.

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How to choose the right HR software for your business

While one type of human resources software may look good, it may not meet your overall company goals. Or you might be better off integrating two tools instead of going with an all-in-one enterprise solution. Before settling on specific software, take the following steps.

Determine your needs

Determining your needs goes beyond what you need now. Consider how the right software can elevate your HR experience as you grow. Is there software that can change how HR approaches a singular pain point, or will it be more useful after you hire the next five candidates?

Perhaps you’re struggling with the recruitment process. By trying to keep up with applications, sending emails, and interview scheduling requests, you could lose out on the best candidates. HR software can streamline the recruitment process to ensure you respond quickly and efficiently to candidates.

Make sure to consider other team members' needs, too, for greater employee engagement. For example, the development team can focus on designing and building projects rather than just training new staff.

Thinking about your overall company culture will ensure your HR software gives you short-term and long-term results.

Evaluate vendors

After you've determined your needs, it's time to identify possible HR software vendors. Research the top options, read reviews, check credentials, and look at customer feedback.

When you've identified a few vendors, narrow down your search with the following:

  • Software features: Your needs will determine which features to look for. Break down features further for each option you’re considering. Is there one software vendor whose features would help not only HR but also boost other departments’ success?

  • Scalability: Can your software solution handle HR needs that change over time? Choosing software scalability gives you the flexibility to adapt as your business changes and grows. You don't want to be stuck with software that will no longer meet your needs four months down the road. A good way to check this is to see if the software offers larger or enterprise plans. If it can handle more users, that’s usually a good sign that it’ll have the features that bigger organizations need.

  • Support options: As amazing as HR software can be, problems will arise. What support does the vendor offer, if any? Is there support offered during installation or software updates? These stages often require the most assistance.

  • Pricing: Vendors may break down pricing by duration, number of users, or even features. Such variety will require you to calculate costs short-term and long-term.

  • Case studies: Look at some case studies. How has the vendor helped other companies succeed? What challenges did other companies face that the vendors provided solutions for?

Book demos

The best way to see if a software option works for you is to book a demo. Most vendors can build demos around a specific case that you request. While HR software may look perfect on paper, seeing a demo of the execution can give you insight into whether or not the tool is right for you.

Take advantage of trials

To zero in on your decision, take advantage of HR software trials. Completing a trial will give HR staff a solid idea of how user-friendly, customizable, and adaptable the software is to their needs. ‌‌

Get a streamlined HR software solution with Hubstaff

hr time tracking software

Ready to get started? Try Hubstaff first.

Hubstaff is workforce management software that helps remote, field, and distributed teams track work time and time off, pay teams, schedule shifts, and more.

At its core, Hubstaff helps teams track time in easy, automated ways that produce more accurate, detailed timesheets. Those worked hours can then be used to pay teams and invoice clients.

Hubstaff’s desktop, web, and mobile apps and browser extension provide top-performing time and location tracking and productivity-enhancing features.

What makes Hubstaff stand out is its productivity measurement software. By tracking activity, tasks, and time, you can keep an eye on successes and time-wasters. You can then create strategies to optimize projects costs and employee time.

All the data collected can be used in detailed reports to understand how teams work. Every user has access to their own data and can see everything that their manager sees. Employees also start and stop the desktop timer as they choose, so they can pause when they need to take a personal call or do something else.

Key features

  • Automated time tracking

  • Productivity measurement

  • Scheduling and attendance

  • Time off and work breaks

  • Geofencing, or GPS location and time tracking based on custom locations

  • Project budgeting

  • Detailed reporting

  • Payroll software

Who is it for?

Hubstaff software is useful for teams that are in-office, out-of-office, in the field, or completely remote. The software offers features for companies of all sizes, whether you’re a small startup or a large enterprise.


Hubstaff offers annual or monthly plan options, with two months free if you go with the annual plan. You can choose from three software options: Hubstaff Time, Hubstaff Desk, and Hubstaff Field. Each one has separate plans and pricing, though you can enjoy a 14-day free trial no matter which one you end up choosing.

Get started with the best HR software today

Now you know the ins and outs of HR software, including its benefits, features, and how to best use it. You know that HR software elevates your company's productivity, cutting down on time-wasting tasks. This helps you to develop cost-friendly strategies and greater HR automation.

To get started, take these next steps:

  1. Meet with your team and create an HR software requirements spreadsheet. What does your team need now and in the future?

  2. Select what type of software best meets your needs by listing the functionality you want.

  3. Decide on a suitable budget.

  4. Explore vendors.

  5. Book demos, undergo trials, and speak with sales reps — everything you need to help you make a choice.

  6. Present your business case to all the relevant stakeholders.

Once your new system is in place, you can enjoy all the benefits that human resources software offers and watch your business improve and grow.

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