Project Management

3 Best Project Management Software to Improve Employee Effectiveness

Published by in Project Management

Small businesses have a tough time identifying the right tools and technologies that will help grow their business. In our survey of 699 small and midsize businesses (SMBs) in the U.S., business leaders said that “using the right technologies ” was one of their top three business constraints1.

This is especially true for small businesses (those that have fewer than 100 employees) that are just setting up a human resources (HR) team. You may get overwhelmed by all the HR tools on the market. Which solution should you buy? Should you start with an application tracking system, payroll software, an employee scheduling tool, or the full HR suite?

Small businesses that have very few—or even zero—HR employees don’t need a full-featured HR solution.

In fact, our survey found that 47% of small businesses consider HR software beneficial but not necessary to their business. They want workarounds but also an efficient way to manage HR.


Top-Rated Project Management Solutions to Improve HR Employee Effectiveness

Small businesses need to first maximize their existing software and tools. For instance, if your biggest needs are onboarding employees and tracking time, ask your HR staff to use an existing program, such as a project management solution that your employees may already be using, to build a resource center for new hires or estimate wages.

To help you save from spending unnecessarily on software, this report looks at three creative use cases of project management tools for HR employees. We also show you what Capterra users think about these tools, including the features they like and the ideal user for each tool.

The three top-rated project management software solutions for HR are:

op-Rated Project Management Solutions to Improve HR Employee Effectiveness

Basecamp: Onboard and train employees faster with a resource center

Basecamp is a project management and team collaboration software tool. HR professionals can leverage the tool’s file management and master calendar features to create resource centers for faster employee onboarding.

Create profile pages for new hires where you can share and store important documents such as employee handbooks, medical benefits forms, holiday lists, and payroll info. You can also create a to-do list of priority tasks for new hires, such as filling out forms, to complete within the first few days of hiring.

Additionally, the resource center serves as a central location for new employees to download, fill out, and submit forms digitally. This way, employers and new hires save a lot of time, which would otherwise be spent writing and sending multiple emails for each task.

HR teams can also add to-do items to a new hire’s calendar using the master calendar feature. This feature automatically alerts new hires about important meetings such as explanation of benefits, upcoming training, or even team parties and events.

Master calendar feature in Basecamp

Master calendar feature in Basecamp (Source)

Common user feedback trends

Based on analysis of user reviews on Capterra from project management software users in HR roles, here’s a list of things users like about Basecamp and things they think could be improved.

What users like:

  • Ease of document management: Reviewers like the file management feature that creates an archive of important documents to share with colleagues.
  • Streamlined team communication: Users mention that the tool stores all communication in one place, saving them time that would otherwise be spent on digging through email threads.

What users think could be improved:

  • Enhance the mobile app interface and features: Users would like to see a better designed mobile application interface and improved mobile functionality.
  • Improve notification functionality: Users mention that the tool should open email notifications within Basecamp and not in a separate browser. They think this feature is more of an annoyance than a benefit.

Who should use Basecamp?

Basecamp is suitable for small HR teams that want to store important files and documents in a centralized location for all employees to access easily. The tool doesn’t charge extra for adding new users, allowing you to create as many new hire profiles as you want.

However, Basecamp may not be ideal for large and distributed teams where employees need to connect with each other via real-time chat or videoconferencing.

Mavenlink: Manage HR employee workloads better with resource management

Mavenlink is project management software that offers resource planning, resource utilization reports, and forecasting capabilities.

Its resource utilization reporting feature can help HR managers understand which employee is doing what, at any given time. View details such as time spent on recruiting, onboarding, managing payroll, and ensuring compliance. These reports help managers identify issues, such as instances of over-allocation of work, and set realistic objectives and targets.

HR managers can also use Mavenlink to leverage the skill sets of different employees and ensure they’re adequately staffed with the resource planning and scheduling features. For instance, allocate administrative tasks such as creating job ads and handling paperwork to a more junior HR associate, while a senior HR employee can handle more complex tasks such as compensation management and training.

The master planning sheet also helps you understand resource availability by giving you an idea of how much work an employee can handle in a day. View details of upcoming events that will take up your employees’ time, e.g., team meetings, paid time off, and public holidays.

Master planning sheet in Mavenlink

Master planning sheet in Mavenlink (Source)

Common user feedback trends

Based on analysis of user reviews on Capterra from project management software users in HR roles, here’s an overview of the things users like about Mavenlink and things they think could be improved.

What users like:

  • Deep resource management analysis: Users like the different kinds of reports, such as resource allocation, resource utilization, and resource forecasting, which help them form a clear picture of employees’ capacities. This allows for better management of resources at all levels.
  • Awareness of task dependencies with Gantt charts: Reviewers mention that the Gantt chart helps in reviewing and adjusting any bottlenecks that employees face while executing tasks.

What users think could be improved:

  • Make it more user-friendly and easier to learn: Reviewers say that the tool comes with a long learning curve as it offers many features that need time getting used to.
  • Simplify pricing: Users feel that the vendor should not charge extra for adding more users. Also, they’d like to see the software have a monthly pricing plan.

Who should use Mavenlink?

Mavenlink is suitable for midsize companies and enterprises (with more than 900 employees) that are expanding to multiple locations and need to ramp up their hiring. More hiring means that these businesses need a resource management tool for HR employees to effectively manage the increasing workload.

Despite this, small businesses can also use this software. If you’re thinking of using Mavenlink, negotiate with the vendor over the price. Small businesses should factor in their current budget and the estimated volume of usage by their employees before making a decision.

Paymo: Track employee time and estimate compensation

Paymo is a project management solution that offers time-tracking functionality, which is useful for creating employees’ hours worked reports.

The tool offers both manual and automatic time-tracking. Manual time-tracking allows employees to digitally record their login and logout times. Automatic time-tracking, on the other hand, runs in the background of a device and records onscreen activities. For instance, it tracks the time an employee spends browsing a website, reading emails, or creating a document.

Automatic time-capture is useful for tracking hours for freelancers and could be used to calculate compensation based on the actual time they spend on a project. Conversely, if your small business does project-based work for clients, this feature can help create billable hour reports to benchmark salaries for your employees.

You can run the time-tracking apps on different devices and platforms and collect data from employees working on desktops, laptops, and even iOS or Android mobile devices.

Paymo also lets you visualize all this data in the form of online timesheets, so you can quickly understand the total employee work hours and financial details such as billed and unbilled tasks.

Timesheets in Paymo

Timesheets in Paymo (Source)

Common user feedback trends

Based on analysis of user reviews on Capterra from project management software users in HR roles, here’s an overview of Paymo’s offerings that users like and some things that could be improved.

What users like:

  • Automatic time-tracking on different devices: Users like the convenience of the built-in functionality for automatically tracking employee time on different devices such as desktops, laptops, and mobile devices.
  • Ease of invoice management: Reviewers mention that the tool’s reusable invoice templates make it quick and easy to bill clients. They only need to add a link to the payment option, such as PayPal and Stripe, in the invoice.

What users think could be improved:

  • Build recurring tasks functionality: Users would like better task management features such as the ability to setup recurring tasks.
  • Ability to bulk import timesheet data from Excel: Users mention that they would like to see a feature that facilitates importing bulk time reports that are stored in Excel spreadsheets.

Who should use Paymo?

Paymo doesn’t have a user limit in its paid plans, which means that different small business HR teams can use it at no additional cost. They can continue using it as they grow in size to track employee time, especially that of remote workers and freelancers.

HR teams can also use the billable hours functionality to calculate compensation.

Next steps

The three project management tools mentioned here offer free trials and demos. You should take advantage of them to better understand whether these tools offer features relevant to your HR team’s specific needs.

Also, it’s important to note that Basecamp and Paymo offer 30-day and 15-day free trials, respectively. This makes it easy for you to test their functionalities at your own pace. However, Mavenlink offers a demo instead of a trial, so make sure to ask the sales representatives detailed questions such as:

  • Can you offer proof use cases of resource management for HR teams?
  • Do you offer free or paid support?
To learn more about the software mentioned here and other related tools, check out the top 20 most popular project management software apps on Capterra.

And as your business grows and requires specific software that’s built for HR teams, you can check these helpful buyer guides and product comparisons:

Disclaimer: The content in this piece that provides opinions and points of view expressed by users does not represent the views of Capterra.


The solutions highlighted in this article are the project management software systems that have the highest average overall user rating from HR professionals at the time of writing. For this article, we evaluated 77 project management software systems and a total of approximately 10,000 user reviews on Capterra’s website.

Here’s an overview of our method for choosing this list of top-rated apps:

  • We analyzed reviews from HR-specific users of project management tools and shortlisted those products that had 4+ out of five stars with a minimum of 20 user reviews.
  • From that list, we considered only those which are listed on Capterra.
  • The “common user feedback” sections include “what users like” and “user recommended improvements” for each product, based on feedback from users who left reviews.
  • The “who should consider this software” section is a summary of analysis conducted on the general comments from software users. This section highlights the most popular features of the software product and recommends who should consider buying that product and why.


We conducted this survey in April and May 2017 among 699 U.S.-based SMBs, with more than 10 employees and annual revenue of less than $100 million. The survey excluded nonprofit organizations. The qualified respondents are decision-makers or have a significant influence on the decisions related to purchasing technologies for their organization.

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

About the Author

Pritam Tamang

Pritam Tamang

Content writer at Capterra, passionate about digital content marketing and technology trends. MA, University of Delhi. Based in New Delhi, India. I love the music of the 60’s and 70’s, and goofing around with a book.


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