These 4 free software options will help you automate HR workflows
If you’re looking for human resource (HR) software, the sheer number of options may seem daunting (Capterra’s software directory lists about 520 different solutions).
When you have so many products to compare, pricing becomes a key factor. You need to choose a product within your budget that also offers all the features you need to manage your human resource operations.
But, can HR software offer the features you need at zero cost? The answer is yes. And the solutions that make it possible are known as free and open-source software.
To identify the right free HR solution, you need to ensure it offers core HR software features and is also highly rated by your peers. With proper research, it is possible to find a free product that can meet your HR department’s needs for years.
To help you find free software that can work for the long term, we’ve combed through the solutions on Capterra to provide you with a list of the best four options.
What does “best” mean? Each of the four tools included in this article has a minimum user rating of 4.0 on Capterra’s software directory in the past year. You can find our full methodology for selecting these products here.
4 best free human resource (HR) solutions
Bitrix24 is a business management suite that works for businesses of all sizes. It includes apps for customer relationship management (CRM), contact center management, website management, and human resource management, but you can use the HR app separately. The HR app lets you add up to 12 free users and includes an employee directory, time tracking, leave management, calendars, recruiting features, and document management features.
|Capterra reviewers find Bitrix24 helpful in managing different departments including HR, sales, and marketing. They also find the time sheets functionality useful for tracking how much time an employee spends on different projects.||Some users mention that the free version adds a Bitrix24 reference at the bottom of each email, including email communication sent to job applicants.|
Cost to upgrade: $69 per month for the CRM+ plan.
Highly rated by: Between 2018 and 2019, 71% of user reviews came from small businesses (fewer than 200 employees), 13% from midsize businesses (201 to 1,000 employees), and 17% from large businesses (more than 1,000 employees). Top industries were software technology, IT services, and marketing agencies.
Employee directory in Bitrix24 HR (Source)
OrangeHRM is an HR solution that works well for small and midsize businesses and is available in two versions: cloud-based and open source.
The open source version is available for free and includes employee records, leave management, time and attendance management, recruiting, performance management, expense tracking, compliance management, and document management functionalities.
|Capterra reviewers find the recruiting functionality of the open source version useful as it helps them design hiring workflows from posting a job vacancy to issuing an offer letter. They also say the product helps them easily manage organizational changes such as department transfers, promotions, and hierarchy changes.||Some reviewers mention that the lack of payroll integration is a disadvantage as they have to manually move employee records from the HR system.|
Cost to upgrade: The open source version is completely free. The cloud-based version is paid.
Highly rated by: From 2018 to 2019, 56% of reviews came from small businesses (fewer than 200 employees), while the remaining 44% came from midsize businesses (201 to 1,000 employees). Top industries were IT services and automobile.
Candidate assessment in OrangeHRM (Source)
WebHR is a cloud-based human resource management system that works well for businesses of all sizes. Its free version supports up to five users and includes time and attendance tracking, employee records, onboarding, leave tracking, file management, employee self-service, and dashboard functionalities.
|Capterra reviewers find the standard reports such as payroll and employee data helpful in making management decisions. They also find these reports easily customizable to their needs.||Reviewers note that the recruiting module lacks some needed features. For instance, the software currently lacks the ability to screen job candidates on educational qualifications such as degree levels.|
Cost to upgrade: $2 per employee per month for more than five employees (the first five users are free ). Paid features include payroll, recruiting, performance management, e-signature, and benefits administration modules.
Highly rated by: Between 2018 and 2019, 51% of WebHR reviewers came from small businesses (fewer than 200 employees), 29% from midsize businesses (201 to 1,000 employees), and the remaining 20% from large businesses (more than 1,001 employees). Top industries were IT services, automobile, and software technology.
Employee dashboard in WebHR (Source)
4. Zoho People
Zoho People is a cloud-based HR solution that’s suited for businesses of all sizes. Its free version lets you add up to five employees and includes an employee database, self-service features, onboarding, and leave management.
|Capterra reviewers find Zoho People’s HR modules easily customizable. For instance, you can add data fields, customize employee forms, and modify recruiting workflows.||Some reviewers say that the mobile app’s interface is complex and needs an upgrade. They have difficulty navigating the app and searching for information.|
Cost to upgrade: The Essential HR package starts at $1 per employee, per month. Paid features include attendance tracking, time sheets, shift scheduling, performance management, and employee query management.
Highly rated by: In 2018 and 2019, 83% of reviews came from small businesses (fewer than 200 employees). Top industries were IT services and software technology.
Leave tracking in Zoho People (Source)
The final verdict: Which free HR software should you invest in?
After you’ve gone through the list of products, the next step is to decide which HR solution you should actually choose. In this section, we’ll specify the steps you should follow in order to select the best free solution for your business.
- Compare usage limits in the free plan: Eliminate products that don’t meet your requirement in terms of data storage or the number of free users.
- Calculate upgrade cost: Decide on an annual budget for HR software and eliminate the products that exceed it. Ensure that the upgrade plan has all the features you’ll need in your business.
- Read user reviews: Read users reviews on Capterra to assess the relevance of the product in your line of business.
If you currently use or have used a free product that worked well for you, feel free to let us know in the comments section below.
Download our Beginner’s Guide to Free and Open Source HR Software
For more information related to HR software, you can also read the following resources:
Products considered for this article must be free. We classified a product as free if:
- It offers a free, standalone version of the software.
- It is not a trial version of the software where you must purchase a product version after a limited amount of time.
The products that met the above criteria were then evaluated against our HR software definition: Human resource (HR) software acts as the system of record for employee data. It helps HR leaders and personnel attract, recruit, manage, engage with, and develop employees.
This check verified the basic HR software capabilities and appropriateness for the category. A product was classified as HR software if it contained these core features—employee profiles, employee database, and reporting, and at least half of the common features—employee self-service (ESS), HR analytics, payroll management, benefits administration, time and attendance, applicant tracking, and onboarding.
Software that met this market definition also needed a minimum of 10 reviews published on the HR software category page between July 19, 2018 and July 18, 2019. During the same period, the product’s rating also had to be higher than 4.0 out of 5.
*Note: Listed pros and cons are derived from features listed on the product website and product user reviews on Gartner Digital Markets domains (Capterra, GetApp, and Software Advice). They do not represent the views of, nor constitute an endorsement by, Capterra or its affiliates. Reviews data was used to determine the target business size of the product.
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