Talent Management

Types of HR Software: A Guide

Published by in Talent Management

We live in a techie world.

It seems that no matter what profession you’re in, the last five years have given you a dozen new technologies that can help you do your job faster, more effectively, or with less hassle.

And that’s great!

But staring at a wall of software recommendations can make your head spin, especially if you’re new to it. What’s the difference between attendance tracking software and employee scheduling software? Do you really need benefits software or will payroll cover it? Does any of it really matter?

Types of HR Software

Wonder no more, dear reader. Below, I’ve broken out the major different types of HR software and give a little background on each to provide you a guide for understanding the entire HR software landscape at a glance.

Type 1: Benefits-focused software

If you have employees, you definitely need to pay them, and probably want to offer them some additional benefits, too. This type of software helps you handle that.

Benefits administration

Manage and track employee benefits such as health insurance, paid time off, and retirement accounts, and compliance in a single location. Often (but not always) this will integrate with, or be a module of, a larger HR software suite.

Compensation management

Compensation includes pay, bonuses, incentive programs, commission, and salary planning, and these systems let you track it all. Compensation management software also typically integrates with a broader HR suite.


Payroll software manages the act of paying your employees as well as direct deposits, checks, tax compliance, and W-2 form printing.

Type 2: Recruiting-focused software

If you recently posted a job opening and struggled to manage the hundreds of resumes that poured in and the interviews you had to coordinate with five different departments, this software is for you.

Applicant tracking

This software, and recruiting software as a whole, are all but synonymous. They allow you to source job applicants and track candidates through the interview and hiring process, Many will also allow you to post open jobs on career websites and manage resumes. If you’d like to know more, I frequently write about applicant tracking software.

Job board

This is a more specialized version of recruiting software that allows you to post and track open jobs to multiple online job boards such as Indeed and Monster, or allows you to create your own job board website for your company’s open positions.

Type 3: Performance-focused software

This type of software helps you track, measure, and reward employee performance. It’s especially useful when you get to employee review season.

Performance appraisal

With this software you can track and manage all your employee reviews in one place, making employee performance reviews much faster and easier. Many include support for goal tracking, learning and development plans, and compensation planning.

360 degree feedback

360 degree systems let anyone at an organization give a performance review of any other person. Employees can rate their managers and provide confidential/anonymous feedback, and people from different teams can review each other. (I’m a big fan of the 360 degree feedback method.)

Employee recognition

These tools automate and formalize processes for recognizing high-achieving employees through things such as leaderboards, rewards points, goal tracking, and prizes.

Type 4: Training-focused software

If you want an effective, knowledgeable, and engaged workforce, you need to ensure that they’ve had the appropriate training. This software helps you design and deliver that training.

Learning management

This software delivers training courses and material directly to employees, allowing them to take classes and tests, and allowing employers to track their progress, award certifications, and more.

Course authoring

If you want to develop your own training materials, you can use course authoring tools to build classes that are compliant with the many learning management systems that deliver training to employees, such as SCORM and xAPI.


These tools easily handle all the effort of onboarding new employees (such as those endless forms), and also often include functionality for training new recruits and introducing them to their new company’s culture and brand.

Type 5: Talent-focused software

Talent management deserves its own section, because it’s so massive. This includes all the talent management suites, integrated HR systems, and other all-in-one HR software tools that try to do it all: recruiting, training, payroll, scheduling, benefits, etc.

Talent management

Historically aimed at bigger enterprises, but starting to cater to small and midsize businesses too, these tools combine just about everything else on this list to be a one-stop-shop for your HR needs.

Type 6: Workforce-focused software

The solutions in this section help you handle the little details and maintenance of everyday HR work and managing employees.

Attendance tracking

Straightforward features allow you to manage paid time off, vacation, and sick days in one location.

Employee engagement

Manage health and wellness programs, survey employees, and create retention plans using information and features from this software.

Employee scheduling

Aimed at industries with hourly employees, this type of solution lets you easily track, assign, and adjust which employees are scheduled to work when. Many of these software systems include options for employees to trade shifts, report overtime, and more.

Time and expense

Focused on employees who need to track billable hours, these tools also manage invoices, time tracking for projects, and sometimes expense tracking.

Workforce management

Combining the functionality of all the above categories, this software also adds in features for labor law compliance and is usually aimed at midsize to large companies. However, it’s a good option to keep in mind as you grow.

Now go find software that’s just your type!

The HR software landscape is a broad one, with a lot of overlap, but hopefully this list helps clarify just what all the options are. Any questions or additions? Let me know in the comments below, or tweet me @CapterraHalden.

Want to learn more about HR software? Start with any of these great articles— the choice is yours!

Looking for Human Resource software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Human Resource software solutions.

About the Author

Halden Ingwersen

Halden Ingwersen

Halden Ingwersen is a former Capterra analyst.



Comment by Aidil Putra on

Lately start up in HR Software is shown up along with great opportunity in HR world that increasingly more complex in task. One of old players that focus on Software Payroll since 1999 is Sunfish Go.

SunFish Go offers the convenience in managing Human Resource activities such as, attendance records, leave requests, claims, and tax calculations and reports.

Since 1999, they have been providing solutions for companies in more than 35 countries by bringing forth various HR features based on company needs.

Also winning some awards Top IT and already certificate in ISO 9001 and ISO/IEC 27001.

Thus I recommend you to try it for free https://sunfishgo.com


Comment by akshayj on

These days all the companies are going green by switching to the software application to replace the conventional paper-based procedure is trending now. As it is an environment-friendly option for the management and easy to use. The cloud is the best thing that could happen to HR management as it eliminates the paperwork and the organization doesn’t have to rely on sheets. Likewise, PocketHRMS is a reliable Cloud-based software which is user- friendly, flexible and automated at its best.
For more details visit this website: http://www.pockethrms.com/

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Comment by Jen Smith on

The cloud has proved to be a very efficient and user-friendly platform for development and integration of software and user applications. It is also an environment friendly option for organization management. Since most companies are attempting to go green, using software applications to replace the conventional paper based procedure is in trend.

I can confidently say that the cloud is the best thing that could happen to HR management. Companies don’t have to rely on spreadsheets or expensive ERP software to manage their HR tasks. Cloud-based HR software, such as SUTIHR now make it easier and cheaper for companies to automate their HRM & payroll.

Comment by AlbertKaylor on

Automating any management’s software will be very helpful for them, as all the main functions can be done quickly and on time. Every business, small and large are adopting an HR management system into their working environment.

Comment by Suwandi Soh on

Sleekr is one of free HR software in Bucket 6: Workforce-Focused Software. Sleekr offers:
– new hires onboarding,
– time off management,
– performance management,
– self-service HR central,
– job description,
– and organization structure.

Try the free account today: http://www.sleekr.co

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