Best HCM Software for 2021

    As companies grow, having separate systems for payroll, benefits administration, applicant tracking, and other HR functions can get unwieldy. These different systems may struggle to work together and can end up hindering your HR department more than they help. Because of this need, the HR software and specifically human capital management software industry is slated to grow at a rate of over 5% over the next five years.

    Human capital management (HCM) is a type of software that simplifies a variety of HR functions, including recruitment, time and attendance tracking, and payroll administration. Even if you have a fully staffed HR department, HCM software can help you optimize the department and automate tasks to make it run smoother.

    To help you find the best HCM software for your business, we’ve put together a list of ten top companies that offer human capital management software and broken them down into five categories. To be considered, companies needed to offer a robust set of features, have good user reviews, and provide something unique to their client base.

    In this article, we’ll cover:

    Best HCM software for small companies


    PurelyHR is a cloud-based human capital management system that centralizes all of your employee data into a searchable database and keeps it secure. Their focus is on making sure every aspect of employee leave is as easy as possible from automating accrual and rollover to simplifying time off requests. It is easy to access, and your employees can input information changes themselves. The software is priced for small and medium-sized businesses, and there are add-ons that you can use to customize your plan to better fit your needs. They feature three different time sheet templates for you to choose from, along with an integrated talent management tool and training modules to keep your employees engaged.

    ACCORDING TO CUSTOMERS: Clients appreciate its simple, intuitive design and appreciate that all of their employees can access the system to make updates and see their available time off on their own. Many customers believe PurelyHR offers a good value for its price. The main complaints have been about support either not having the answers users need or taking a long time to respond.


    Named as one of Forbes’ Next $1B companies and as Editor’s Choice for PC Magazine, Rippling is a top-notch people management software company. The system rolls aspects of both HR and IT into one program to simplify your company’s inner workings and keep your data secure. The platform automates many aspects of employee onboarding and offboarding, payroll, and benefits. In fact, Rippling claims that you can onboard a new hire in as little as 90 seconds, including setting up their work computer and third-party apps like Slack. It also enables digital signatures and storage of sensitive documentation, so there’s no need for printing and emailing.

    ACCORDING TO CUSTOMERS: Customers appreciate how easy it is to set everything up and transfer their data over from old systems. The benefits and workers’ compensation programs integrate seamlessly with third-party vendors like health insurance providers and financial institutions. It’s more expensive than some other options, but many users believe the functionality is worth the higher price tag. Support leaves something to be desired with most of it coming from online help documentation rather than a live person.

    Best HCM software for medium companies


    BambooHR is a cloud-based Human Resource Information System (HRIS) that provides growing companies with an applicant tracking system and tools for payroll, benefits administration, time tracking, and employee engagement. The software streamlines the recruiting process and makes everything from applications to orientation simpler. Self-service benefit tracking, time sheets, and paid time off request features makes it easier to get your employees paid correctly and on time. Over 18,000 organizations currently use BambooHR and over 30,000 people are onboarded through it every month.

    ACCORDING TO CUSTOMERS: Clients appreciate that the system offers different portals for their users. Employees have access to their own records, time tracking, and documents, while administrators can create and track records and view all employee data at a glance. BambooHR is also very simple to set up and the interface is intuitive.  The company is US-based and the system’s default is made for US users, so customers in other countries may run into some issues formatting it for their region or speaking with support. Some users also complain that the functionality is pretty limited compared to some other vendors.


    Ascentis’s HCM system is specialized for mid-sized companies in any industry. With 30 years of experience in the HR industry, Ascentis used their expertise to create a platform designed to make your HR staff’s lives easier. The software offers insights for a variety of metrics, so you can better understand your workforce and what’s lacking. The time and attendance features are fully automated and the payroll features are updated in real time. It can even speed up payroll processing by as much as 30% by walking you through a simple, 5-step process.

    ACCORDING TO CUSTOMERS: Client’s employees appreciate that the software helps keep them on track in terms of their work performance, so they know they’re achieving at the level they should be. Customers also appreciate how many facets of the software are self-service and that it automatically updates based on rules the company has set, for example, increasing paid time off days on an employee’s work anniversary. The main complaint is that the user interface is a bit clunky, especially in the time coding section of the software.

    Best HCM software for large companies


    Ultimate Software has over 20 years of experience and has leveraged that to create an impressive HCM suite, complete with AI technology to improve and optimize your workflows. The system tracks key HR metrics to ensure personnel decisions are backed up by meaningful data. One of the most interesting features of Ultipro is the ability to measure how your employees feel about their work through a process called sentiment analysis. There’s even a mobile app to make accessing the system even easier.

    ACCORDING TO CUSTOMERS: Customers like that Ultipro is constantly innovating and improving their platform to add more functionality. Users can make suggestions and Ultipro will take them into consideration for future rollouts. It’s also easy to use and highly customizable. The main things users want more from are the customer support and reporting features.

    Kronos Workforce Ready

    Kronos Workforce Ready is a fully-loaded HCM tool that consolidates employee data in a single database with a single interface. The suite includes everything you need to create a successful and engaged workforce, including applicant tracking, payroll and benefits administration, time tracking, and more. Everything is updated in real time to give you the most up to date information. The platform can manage your entire workforce, including full-time, part-time, and contract employees whether they’re just starting out or getting ready to retire. One interesting feature Kronos has added in response to the COVID-19 pandemic is employee contact tracing to identify employees who might have been exposed to the virus.

    ACCORDING TO CUSTOMERS: Customers love the mobile app because it makes clocking in and out super easy and there are even biometric options for time clocks. There are also fewer customer service complaints with Kronos than with other systems. The main complaints come from non-traditional workplaces like government offices and healthcare facilities because the system lacks flexibility.

    Best Values for the Money


    Viventium is a cloud-based payroll and HR software system best for small and medium-sized businesses. It offers a mobile app for both iOS and Android devices for employee self service. The integrated HRIS system supports document uploads and notes to keep your employee information organized. The software also enables companies to run a mock HR audit similar to the official DOL audit. This ensures your company is following all regulations and can help you prepare in the event of an actual audit.

    ACCORDING TO CUSTOMERS: Customers like the ability to customize the software, so it better fits their needs. Additionally, the solution being cloud-based means users can quickly update information even while out of office. Clients do wish payroll changes showed up more quickly instead of waiting for the next pay cycle.

    Breeze 360

    Breeze 360 is a cloud-based time and attendance tracking system that automates time and attendance processes to optimize company workflows. One interesting feature is the ability to geofence an area, meaning you can identify exactly where your employees are working from, as long as they have their phone’s location services on. The system supports all types of employees, including salaried, part-time, and contract, and there are customizable rules for each different type, including options for attendance, time off, and payroll.

    ACCORDING TO CUSTOMERS: Clients appreciate how easy and intuitive Breeze 360 is to use. The ability for employees to request PTO and see how much they have left on their own saves the HR department time and hassle. There are two versions of the software available, which can make purchasing decisions a bit confusing.

    Best rated HCM software

    Zoho People

    Zoho People is a 360-degree HR solution that allows you to hire, onboard, track time and leave, and manage employee performance reviews with ease. Gather feedback for your employees and set real, attainable goals to help them bridge the gap between where they currently are and where they should be. Zoho also helps large companies by separating employees’ questions into categories and assigning a member of your HR team to each category. This streamlines the process, so your employees can get the answers they need quicker.

    ACCORDING TO CUSTOMERS: Clients appreciate how easy the software is to use right out of the box and that it’s customizable. Even in the basic plan, the systems are very user-friendly and offer a high level of functionality. There are some complaints about the mobile app not always working properly, but Zoho pushes out frequent updates to combat those challenges. The pricing model can also be slightly prohibitive, especially if you choose to have the software automatically import data from your old system.

    Also read: Zoho vs Insightly: 2019 CRM Comparison

    ADP Workforce Now

    ADP Workforce Now boasts an all-in-one platform for payroll, HR, talent acquisition, time, and benefits. Even though their system includes everything, they don’t take a cookie-cutter approach because they know the small and medium businesses they serve don’t take one either. Instead, you can customize your HCM suite to better fit your company and get the data and insights you need through integrations with other apps. It’s best suited for businesses with more than 50 employees, especially those who want to streamline their HR processes. They also offer compliance alerts to keep your practices within the regulations.

    ACCORDING TO CUSTOMERS: Customers appreciate the simple, user-friendly interface and features. They also like the customization features and feel that the reporting features increase their productivity. The main complaints are that customer service is slow to respond and there aren’t as many features as some companies would like.

    Choosing the HCM that’s right for you

    When it comes to choosing the right HCM for your business, you need to find the software that’s right for your company size, budget, and feature requirements.  Many vendors price their software per user per month, so larger companies will often pay more than their smaller counterparts. One of the best ways to find a product that will work for you is to look at reviews from companies that are similar in size and industry to yours. Then, if you can spare the time, you’ll want to contact companies that are on your short list to ensure they have all of the features you need. Finding a good HCM is the key to optimizing your HR department.

    Jenn Fulmer
    Jenn Fulmer
    Jenn Fulmer is a writer for TechnologyAdvice, IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, and eSecurity Planet currently based in Lexington, KY. Using detailed, research-based content, she aims to help businesses find the technology they need to maximize their success and protect their data.

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