4 Best Free and Open Source HR Software Systems for HR Professionals

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These 4 free software options will help you automate HR workflows

Header illustration of a computer monitor showing people icons with a magnifying glass over them. A free tag hangs from the corner of the monitor

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.

According to our research, the following are the best free HR solutions (listed alphabetically):

Chart showing an overview of the HR software products listed in this article

4 best free human resource (HR) solutions

1. Bitrix24

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.

Pros* Cons
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 records in Bitrix24

Employee directory in Bitrix24 HR (Source)

2. OrangeHRM

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.

Pros* Cons
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 evaluation chart in OrangeHRM

Candidate assessment in OrangeHRM (Source)

3. WebHR

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.

Pros* Cons
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.

screenshot of the employee dashboard in WebHR

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.

Pros* Cons
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 management in Zoho People

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:


Methodology

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.

Selection criteria

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.

Looking for Talent Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Talent Management software solutions.

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Comments

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Hi,
Thanks for your comment.
I’d like to mention that our methodology ensures that the product is completely free (ie is not a limited-period free product), and therefore each of the products is ‘forever free’.
The OrangeHRM product we’re referencing in this piece is an open-source one (installed on Windows). You can find the GitHub files here: https://github.com/orangehrm/orangehrm. User manual is available on this URL: https://www.orangehrm.com/open-source/orangehrm-installation/. The cloud version of the product is paid however.
If you can point me any other product that you feel is not free, I’ll be happy to discuss it.
Regards,
Harshit

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The ones that are listed here are not totally free except maybe HR.MY.
I hope this is clearly specified.
Like in OpenHRMS, there’s no real FREE version
OrangeHRM is limited up to 30 days trial

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Bitrix24 is an excellent suggestion.

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Very well explained and helped us to choose the best one. Thanks alot!!

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Hi Noor,
I recommend Officekithr (http://www.officekithr.com)Office kit HR is a multipurpose human resource management system. Handle employees in a more innovative manner using HR management software in the organization. The cloud-based interface allows you to access on the move. The software has multiple features such as employee self-service, leave and attendance management, document management, payroll management etc.

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We have around 100 employees. Only looking for Payroll system which can generate employee payslips online based on inputs we give as per the indina market standards.

Anything available free or with low cost.

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We would like to introduce our product EasyHR which has been “The world’s easiest HR Software for small and medium business”.

We are a leader in the field of HRMS automation. With Easy HR you would be able to successfully move your employee information from spreadsheets to an easy to use HR software and do more with your time.

EasyHR offers a complete Human Resource Management System, seamlessly enrolling an employee with a smooth recruitment process. Also maintaining employee Database, Managing Leave and Attendance with other Organizational day-to-day activities. Easy HR will help you in creating Error free appointment letters, relieving letters and other employee documents. Easy HR will ensure the employee records are maintained hassle free.

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It’s so many references thank you, I use SunFish Go they free for all feature for the free version (no ads) available for App Store and Play Store as well kindly check it https://sunfishgo.com

thank you!

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Hello,

Please include AJOFT HRMS SUITE also in this list as that is one of the best hrms software and free for startups upto 10 employees. The details are available at https://www.ajoft.com/products/hrms/

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SENTRIFUGO for me is the best here. But I wish they can offer better and quick support. We have installed for several clients here in Kenya and they are very happy.

NOW Sentrifugo, please include: PAYROLL SYSTEM and 360 Degree module and THIS WILLL BE THE BEST HR IN THE WORLD

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If you are looking for a suitable HR management system for your company, I am suggesting the latest most advanced free HR management software
Open HRMS ( https://www.openhrms.com/ ).

Open HRMS have the advanced features such as payroll, time and attendance, benefits management, and performance management etc. Open HRMS is the Best Free Open Source HR Management Software in 2018

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I need the bank balances in hours, not days. OrangeHRM looks good for an immediate temporary need until one of our solutions providers customize something for us, but using the open source of Orange don’t allow to export reports to a any file format. I would need to connect to the database using MySQL. Will try Sentrifugo to check if it works. The open source program I’m looking is for manual input of FMLA leave absent hours, sometimes with the licenses it’s better that HR handle it and don’t leave it to managers or supervisors.

For Time keeping and leave we use Kronos AutoTime and the time could be applied to that license but my HR team is looking for handle this hours for accuracy and enforcement.

I read all previous post, and recommended tools are good for small companies. If you are looking for a solution for 10,000+ employees I could tell to others evaluating paid tools that for time keeping one of the best in the market is Kronos AutoTime, for performance we start using Workday last year and is very good and for ESS we use a product developed by Deloitte and other tools designed for us from companies like AON. It cost a lot, but for security, policy compliance, law, tax and many other things, your best asset are your employees and you need to invest in them. Always do a good research.

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Hi, does Sentrifugo have an employee number limit?

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It is important that the HRMS software has clear role in the entire organizational structure. The traditional system is not useful in updating the designation or pay scale revision of its employees.

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If you are looking for a WordPress based free HR solution then WP-HR Manager is a new option https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-hr-manager/

Paul

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I’m not sure how they missed TimeTrex workforce management (https://www.timetrex.com), it does a lot more than just HR, but so do many other software packages on here and it actually is completely free/open source for both on-site and cloud hosted deployments.

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I just checked Zenefits, and it appears that it’s now paid. It could be that it uses geolocation to apply a charge to me on hte pricing page (I’m in the Caribbean) but the pricing page says I’d have to pay $5 per employee per month, plus a $40 base fee

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These are very interesting. After review of the various suggestions above I feel it would be helpful to mention our company is an authorized Kronos partner. We offer complete HCM in one login with the most functionality and flexibility in the market. Kronos is a billion dollar company who has poured tens of millions into their HCM platform. Our clients are able to automate everything from hire to retire inside one single database at reasonable costs. We are US based and provide full service to all size businesses who want [and need] to focus on their core competencies to remain competitive. You can find us at http://www.exactpayroll.com. To learn more about the Kronos suite of HCM offerings visit https://www.kronos.com/about-us/workforce-ready-partner-network.

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I am very pleased to read this article. Actually all the hr and payroll management system described in this article is awesome, but the problem is to those hr and payroll management system are not easily customize. Besides you can not track employees record using bio-metric device. I know a software company named as MASSTECH BD who provides custom HR and Payroll Management system for industries with integrated bio-metric device to keep employee’s in-time and out-time record.

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Nice writeup! Allow me to contribute one more to the list – Kitikiti HRM. You can immediately generate pay slips, apply for leave and submit expense claims upon sign up – without any additional steps. The philosophy is to start with the end in sight, and allow you to then customize HRM policies to your liking. Check it out at https://kitikiti-hrm.com

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I just found this new HR Software, http://www.karyaone.co.id

It has useful features such as attendance & leaves management also payroll.

This is a cloud-based HR Software which is can be access from anywhere and no need installation.

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Is there any option to save the employee PF and ESI number

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A new company that is fairly comprehensive using a similar model to Zenefits:

http://worxsitehr.com/index.html

I just found them today and took a glance at what they offer. Pretty impressive if you ask me.

[…] not require the personnel to be available physically and allow everyone to access quality training. Online HR and management tools have even open the doors for the curious individuals and innovators to enter in the business world […]

[…] not require the personnel to be available physically and allow everyone to access quality training. Online HR and management tools have even open the doors for the curious individuals and innovators to enter in the business world […]

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I’ve enjoyed reading through the comprehensive reviews of the different companies. Does anyone know if any of them provide a module for competency management/assessment? I’d be interested to hear if anyone has any info for this particular activity.

Many thanks

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Hi! As a CEO of a 50+ software house I would recommend trying teamdeck.io – https://teamdeck.io – a complete resource management solution for agencies and software houses.

It brings all HR process together – resource planning, time offs, holidays policy, availability, time tracking and reporting together and is a perfect solution for any company handling multiple projects at the same time.

Also it’s free up to 6 team members!

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We are looking free HR software with Asset management software included someone can help us. we are in developing country and our organization is Non-profit that advocate for persons with disabilities in Rwanda. thanks

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nice review.

Any Free Talent management with easy Moodle data integration? Thanks

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Is there any HR solution written in Java/J2EE and Open source?
Please enough of this PHP.

Regards,
Ranjan

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With Zenefits no longer free, a great free alternative for tracking employee time off (and other core HR activities) is Workteam (http://workte.am). I’m sure it will be on your next revision of this great list. 😉

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Hi all, theres some great info on here. I liked the OrangeHRM the best, the only downside is its app based. Does anybody know of any cheap cloud based ones? like really cheap! Maybe a monthly payment of $50? We are a company with 75 employees but based in a developing country so budget is tight!

Thanks

Wes

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Zenefits just announced they will no longer be free. It’s a shame since it’s perfect for our needs.

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Which one would you say is the most comparable to the RedCort Software?

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This is a great thread, I am sourcing a system (not too fancy) for a client new business with less than 20 employees, preferably that staff key in their own absence (on an app?) and input their own training. Key function covers:

Employee records
Attendance
Training Records

Any thoughts?

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is there any software for exit management (resigned employees).

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Hi all,

I am looking for a very simple, free (but possibly not web-based) tool capable of automatize the HR planning. Meaning that once it has the employees, their eventual absences and a given number of tasks, it must be able to create a planning. I know, that can be done with Excel, but I’m just looking for something nicer and a bit more dynamic. Any tips?

Thanks!

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Hey Noor, I highly recommend orange ( http://www.orangehrm.com ) as their hr software is very easy to use and comes with all the bells and whistles.

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Hi all,
I’m looking for Free HR software to handle and develop my small company with 7 employees,
I don’t have a strong background about HR management so i need an overall software
Can any one help ^^?

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Hi Chris, HR.my is specifically focused on Malaysia, but I don’t think its tax rates are customizable beyond that. Zoho is based in India so might have that functionality. I know Zenefits does not, and their payroll system was only just released for California specifically.

You may have more luck with one of the open source tools like Odoo or Orange as far as customization, but then you may have to host/install them yourself.

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