Best HCM Software 2019: Human Capital Management


Its people are any organization’s most important asset. Therefore, managing those people must be a top priority for any human resources department. Human Capital Management (HCM) is the next step in the HR cycle – and in software platforms for HR management.

The difference between HR and HCM is that HR looks at the entire scope of business operations – and people are just part of that equation – while HCM views the employee as an asset that can be leveraged and cultivated. Employee engagement is a key term in HCM.

Engaging employees creates a positive work experience for them, and this, in turn, improves employee production. For it to be a positive experience, employee engagement has to be consistent, simple so they’ll take advantage of the technology, and show progress. With HCM, an employee should be able to record information about their work day, see how their career has progressed and then be rewarded equitably. This is a win-win for employers as they have happier employees and everything is documented and controlled on a single platform.

“In Forrester’s view, the engagement is an outcome of the employee experience. And employee experience is a combination of what each employee brings with them to work each day (emotions, perceptions, motivations, etc.) and what they experience while there,” David Johnson, principal analyst for Forrester, said in an interview for Ultimate Software’s blog.

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Factors to Consider When Evaluating Human Capital Management Software

For your HCM software to be most effective, you need to onboard the right platform for your needs. Consider the following:

HR Functions 

What HCM functions do you want it to cover? That can include recruitment, onboarding, performance tracking, attendance tracking and payroll.

Problem Areas

In which areas do you need the most help? Do you want the platform to act as an over-arching HR platform or to handle specific areas like talent management, day-to-day workforce management, or administrative?

Cloud Based

Are you able to operate in a cloud environment? Many HCMs are cloud-based platforms.

Compliance Necessary 

Is your organization heavily compliance regulated? How well will the HCM platform address compliance and security issues?

Key Features to Consider in HCM Software

Cloud/Mobile Platform Capabilities

Accessibility from any type of device is a vital factor in any HCM platform. The system will be accessed by workers in the office or by telecommuters; An update by an employee must be readily accessible to HR. The platform should offer a cloud-based system compatible with multiple operating systems/devices, with mobile applications available for easy download.

Payroll Management Processes

The HCM software allows for a seamless integration with a wide variety of payroll systems so there are no disruptions in payroll.

New Employee Onboarding Management

HCM software offers one location for an easy onboarding process for new employees. In the HCM platform, they should be able to conduct any new employee training, fill out paperwork, set up benefit packages, and learn company procedures and policies.

Compliance Regulations

HCM software meets privacy regulations, from GDPR to CCPA and beyond, ensuring that employee personal information is kept safe and secure while allowing the organization to have a smooth flow of operations.

Goal Planning

HCM software provides employees the opportunity to set up work goals and future planning, so staff and leadership are on the same page and can work together toward those goals.

Employee Engagement and Lifecycle Management

HCM platforms follow an employee from start to finish, from onboarding to exit interviews, allowing employees access to performance information and receive regular feedback.

Applicant Recruitment

HCM platforms follow potential employees from recruitment through application through hire through resume management, applicant screening, and targeted job postings.

Time Management

The HCM software allows employees to manage their work schedules and vacation time, calculates overtime, and ensures budgets are matched with the right projects in accurate time intervals.

Top HCM Software Vendors

RUN Powered by ADP

RUN Powered by ADP is geared especially toward very small businesses and focuses primarily on payroll functions. The interface is designed to allow business owners and management a simple way to handle HR and HC concerns without disrupting overall business operations. There are four tiers – Essential Payroll; Enhanced Payroll; Complete Payroll & HR Plus; HR Pro -- that have different levels of available functionality.

Cloud/Mobile Platform Capabilities: Cloud-based solution. Mobile app available.
Payroll Management Processes: Customized payments for employees, based on their preferences. Offers multiple tiers of payroll features.
New Employee Onboarding Management: Reports new employees to help with state and federal reporting requirements.
Compliance Regulations: Three top tiers ensure the company meets compliance.
Goal Planning: Offers continuing education credits for payroll and accounting fields.
Applicant Recruitment: Top two tiers have limited recruitment functionality.
Time Management: Attendance management and tracks employee hours either through time sheets or time clock.
Cost: First two months are free; contact company for pricing.

ADP Workforce Now  

ADP Workforce Now is an HCM platform designed for both mid-sized and large companies. The software handles everything from payroll to compliance with the Affordable Care Act, and is available in multiple languages and currencies so it can be easily used by global organizations. Its time-tracking tools allow for better hourly calculation for individual employees. Also, it can search social media platforms to find new talent.

Cloud/Mobile Platform Capabilities: Cloud-based solution. Allows for viewing applications on mobile devices.
Payroll Management Processes: Handles payments, deductions and tax filings. Allows employees to view payroll information like W2 forms and pay stubs.
New Employee Onboarding Management: Streamlines onboarding process. Provides new hire templates.
Goal Planning: Sets up workflows and templates for goal planning. Uses progress reminders. Improves the review process.
Employee Engagement and Lifecycle Management:
The Turnover Probability Explorer feature tracks turnover probability based on big data analysis, allowing the organization to find more effective ways to engage employees and keep top talent inhouse.
Applicant Recruitment: Post jobs on a custom career site or social media.
Time Management: Offers mobile clocking. Work schedules sync with online calendars.
Cost: Contact company for pricing. Features and modules selected will determine price levels.

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Kronos Workforce Ready

Kronos Workforce Ready is one of the most established HCM software platforms available, tracking employee hours and building reports on that information since 1979. Workforce Ready is a newer generation and is targeted to mid-sized businesses. It allows its customers a modular approach to designing their platform – they can pick and choose the options they need. As the platform continues to evolve, it is tuned to be more user intuitive and build across the employee lifecycle.

Cloud/Mobile Platform Capabilities: Unified cloud solution. Mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Windows.
Payroll Management Processes: Offers tax filing capabilities and streamlines payroll garnishment processes. Offers paperless but secure payment options.
Goal Planning: Allows managers to create goal planning objectives for employees and offers ongoing feedback options.
Employee Engagement and Lifecycle Management: Manages and monitors employee development strategies, including training participation. Automates performance review cycle.
Applicant Recruitment: Tracks internal and external job requisitions. Offers a customizable career site and integrates with job boards.
Time Management: Offers tools to monitor and enforce absentee policies and flags concerns like late/early punch in, missed breaks, or other time-management policy violations.
Cost: Contact company for pricing.

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SAP SuccessFactors  

Another company with 40+ years of experience in HCM, SAP SuccessFactors begins with recruitment management and then follows new hires as they join the company, tracking their progress. The platform also connects easily to other SAP HR software platforms, giving companies a full suite of workforce management. It also offers employee training capabilities.

Cloud/Mobile Platform Capabilities: Cloud-based solution.
Payroll Management Processes: Localizes payroll processes in over 40 countries.
New Employee Onboarding Management: Personalized onboarding portal that provides company information and networking opportunities.
Compliance Regulations: Management solutions for work visa and permits for global companies.
Goal Planning: Library with more than 500 SMART goals to help employees set objectives.
Employee Engagement and Lifecycle Management: Allows for employees to track performance and assess goal achievement.
Applicant Recruitment: Offers postings to 4000 different sources and provides recruitment strategy analysis.
Time Management: Uses a mobile app to monitor attendance.
Cost: Subscription based.

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Workday offers a self-service approach to HCM, allowing users to organize all of their employee activities, from hire to retirement or termination. It can also be designed to meet individual department or corporate entities that may require different tools and employee tracking needs. It is one of the fastest growing HCM software providers.

Cloud/Mobile Platform Capabilities: Cloud-based solution.
Payroll Management Processes: Calculation engine to individualize the payroll process.
Compliance Regulations: Uses the cloud to keep regulations current.
Goal Planning: Allows employees to design a goal path.
Employee Engagement and Lifecycle Management: Allows employees to network and to find direction on corporate issues. Creates succession plans for specific jobs. Targets retention issues.
Applicant Recruitment: Provides analytics that provide information on the current talent pool and the types of positions that need to be hired. Allows whole-team collaboration during the hiring process.
Cost: Contact company for pricing.

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Vista is an HCM platform that covers all HR needs, and a company that works very closely with its customers. The platform is intuitive and user friendly, having switched to icons and away from drop-down menus. Each icon provides much more information with a single click than the menu process. Payroll, time sheets, and similar documents are grouped together.

Cloud/Mobile Platform Capabilities: Cloud-based solution. Also offers mobile platforms.
Payroll Management Processes:  Offers on-demand check calculations, tax maintenance, retroactive pay process, and tax reporting for U.S. and Canada.
Employee Engagement and Lifecycle Management: Allows employees to manage their time-off requests, apply for new positions within the organization, and track personal personnel information.
Applicant Recruitment: Streamlines the entire hiring process and includes an applicant portal and candidate ranking system.
Time Management: Provides easy mobile time keeping for employees, as well as project tracking and approval workflow. Integrates with the payroll management solution.
Cost: $40,000 per year.


Cornerstone is an HCM platform for organizations of any size and has been recognized by Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Talent Management Suites. The suite of platforms is delivered through the cloud and gives users a single interface and multiple test environments.

Cloud/Mobile Platform Capabilities: Cloud-based solution, mobile platforms offered.
New Employee Onboarding Management:  Customizes the onboarding process for each new hire, providing relevant information for the position.
Goal Planning: Uses machine learning to help employees to set up career progression goals.
Employee Engagement and Lifecycle Management: Uses gamification to encourage interaction and feedback on employee progress.
Applicant Recruitment: Application process is mobile friendly, doesn’t require a login or creating a profile. Allows employees to share new job information on their social networks.
Cost: Contact company for pricing.

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UltiPro is a cloud-based solution designed to improve the overall employee experience with people-focused results. Security-based features are a plus for those companies managing multiple subsidiaries. There is a learning curve with this platform, but it offers an online learning center.

Cloud/Mobile Platform Capabilities: Cloud-based solution. Mobile offerings.
Payroll Management Processes:  Provides tax filings for 13,000 codes. Manages third-party payments and wage attachment disbursement.
Compliance Regulations: Navigates ACA compliance issues and updates with changes in legislation.
Cost: Contact company for pricing.

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Vibe HCM

The Vibe HCM platform offers HR transactions, covers compliance issues, and provides employee engagement. It’s an all-in-one package that the company sees as lifting employee relations to another level with its “Connect. Manage. Engage. Inspire” model. Customers applaud the software’s security, making it a viable choice for compliance-heavy organizations.

Cloud/Mobile Platform Capabilities: Cloud-based solution for any device.
Payroll Management Processes:  Integrates payroll into the entire platform.
New Employee Onboarding Management: Personalized preboarding to keep new employee engaged before the official start date. Personalized onboarding offers new employee training and socialization/networking with team members and mentors.
Goal Planning: Uses talent assessment to help management to put employees in the right jobs.
Employee Engagement and Lifecycle Management: Offers continuous coaching and feedback.
Applicant Recruitment: Offers internal and external career sites, applicant tracking.
Time Management: Web-based time and labor management system.
Cost: Contact company for pricing.


Clockwise offers time-tracking software platforms geared to make the organization more efficient. It integrates seamlessly with popular third-party accounting software. The time-tracking software tracks time spent on specific projects and monitors paid and unpaid leave and overtime.

Cloud/Mobile Platform Capabilities: Cloud-based solution with mobile time clock app.
Payroll Management Processes: Integrates with accounting software already used by the company.
Compliance Regulations: Meets DCAA and DOL compliance requirements.
Time Management: Customized tracking for overtime, projects, earned leave and flat leave.
Cost: Starts at $75/month for standard features. Starts at $105/month for premium features. Free customized setup.


Viventium is a payroll management and HCRM solution geared toward the SMB market. Relying on business intelligence analytics, it uses an HRIS system to interact with employees, providing a simple tool to share important information and updates to corporate policies. Employees use the platform to manage their work day.

Cloud/Mobile Platform Capabilities: Cloud-based solution.
Payroll Management Processes:  Unlimited payroll codes and deductions to meet whatever payroll needs employees may have.
New Employee Onboarding Management: Sends onboarding documents to new hires and uses digital signatures.
Compliance Regulations: Allows users to run mock audits to ensure DOL compliance. Also meets ACA compliance requirements.
Applicant Recruitment: Allows creation of job posting and shares it across external job boards.
Time Management: Offers specific time management platforms depending on the size of the company.
Cost: Contact company for pricing.

How to Decide Which Tool is Right for You

HCM Software Comparison Chart

Choosing the right tool may come down to the size of your business. Many HCM platforms are targeted to businesses of a certain size. A very small shop may not find a platform that addresses its needs and may be better off looking for an all-encompassing HR platform. Consider Run Powered by ADP or Vista.

If you are a company that wants to start small and build your HCM platform, there are options that are modular and let you add on as you grow or determine how HCM should be used in your organization. Consider ADP Workforce Now or Kronos Workforce Ready Suite.

Finally, the choice comes down to how you want to manage your employees through a software package. There are options that focus primarily on payroll and time management, while others will help you determine how to compensate individuals based on their performance, rather than handing out a one-size-fits-all compensation. HCM is all about employee engagement, and the software you purchase will allow you to control the level of engagement.