Managing a workforce effectively is a key ingredient to the growth of a business—big or small—and to do this, many businesses turn to employee management software.
Employee management software is a fuzzy-ish category. At its core, it's about streamlining HR work (from both the employer and employee side of things), but depending on who you ask, you'll get a slightly different definition.
I decided to turn to the experts to see what employee management software they think is the best of the bunch. After conducting in-depth research and speaking to the professionals who actually use these apps day in and day out, I've identified six employee management apps that I feel good recommending.
The best employee management software
monday.com for workflow management
Connecteam for streamlining communication and connectivity
BambooHR for ease of use
Zenefits for small to medium-sized businesses
Leapsome for employee feedback and development
Eddy for local businesses
What makes the best employee management software?
"Employee management" can mean a lot of things, and the function of employee management software is equally as complex. Generally, employee management software has two main purposes: to streamline HR admin work and to make employees more productive in the process. But it's not just about avoiding headaches—although that's definitely a benefit. It's about unlocking the full potential of your team.
When I was researching employee management systems, I focused on these five aspects:
Functionality and features. HR features are essential in an employee management system, though the specific features will depend on the company's needs. This could include anything from attendance, time tracking, and performance management to recruitment, onboarding, and payroll.
Ease of use. A user-friendly and intuitive interface is non-negotiable. An overly complicated system may not only create resistance among users but can also introduce inefficiencies or additional training costs.
Scalability and integrations. Employee management software should grow with a business. This applies to the software itself, but I was also looking for platforms that can seamlessly integrate with tools most businesses are already using, like accounting tools, CRM platforms, or communication apps.
Expert insights. I asked real HR managers and executives about their experiences using these platforms to truly understand the value that a business, small or large, could get out of employee management software. I also looked at user reviews.
Mobile capabilities. I limited my search to employee management systems that either have strong mobile features or a dedicated mobile app. This ensures that both managers and employees can access what they need anytime, anywhere.
The following six apps came the most recommended by the execs and HR leaders I spoke to, while meeting all my criteria and offering a wide range of features that HR teams of all sizes will find useful.
The best employee management systems at a glance
Task assignment and tracking
Free for up to 2 seats; Paid plans from $24/month (billed annually)
Free plan available for up to 10 users; Paid plans from $29/month (paid annually) for up to 30 users
Ease of use
Centralized employee data, HR documentation, performance management
Small to medium-sized businesses
All-in-one HR features, org charts, payroll, benefits
From $8/month per employee for Essentials plan; $27/month per employee for all features including payroll
Employee feedback and development
Performance review cycles, employee engagement capabilities
Employee directory, onboarding, hiring features
Best employee management software for workflow management
monday.com is different from most of the other apps on this list in that it started as a project management tool. But now, it's one of the most popular employee management systems out there.
Due to its project management roots, a prominent aspect of monday is its task assignment and tracking capabilities. Team leads and managers (plus the individual contributors) can track the progress of tasks and adjust workloads if necessary. It's a great solution for keeping everyone on the same page, moving projects forward, and setting short- and long-term goals.
Aktug Dogan, CEO and co-founder of Refermate, finds monday.com especially useful for his remote teams. Their biggest challenge is staying on the same page when working asynchronously, but monday's project overview feature streamlines everything and ensures everyone's on the same page about timeline, assignments, and priorities.
Of course, monday also checks the standard employee management boxes. With time tracking and calendar features, managers can monitor hours, manage vacation days, and track attendance. monday also offers recruitment pipelines for candidates, onboarding flows for new employees, and features for tracking leave requests, performance reviews, and even employee well-being. You can communicate inside the app, and if it doesn't offer a feature you need, you can build your own.
Create items on a monday.com board for new rows on Google Sheets
Add items in monday.com for new invitees created in Calendly
Add new responses in Google Sheets as items on monday.com boards
monday.com pricing: Free for up to 2 seats; paid plans from $24/month (billed annually)
Best employee management software for streamlining communication
Connecteam is a dynamic, mobile-first platform that has been designed with "non-desk" teams in mind. Its primary goal is to streamline communication, making it easier for businesses to keep everyone on the same page, whether that's through instant chats, updates, or an employee directory.
Beyond communication, Connecteam offers an impressive suite of tools for all things employee management: time tracking, scheduling, and task management; employee directory, knowledge base, surveys, and engagement tracking; and HR documentation, rewards, onboarding, assessments—the list goes on.
Wainbee's VP of Sales & Marketing, Campbell Tourgis, told me that Connecteam has been essential for connecting his company's 200+ employees—but it's been especially important for their Sales and Marketing teams that work across 14 locations. Wainbee's HR department uses Connecteam to create assets and feeds for things like big company announcements or corporate events. They use the built-in chat feature to communicate, and they've taken advantage of the standard HR features like PTO requests.
Connecteam works on a hub system, so you'll need to decide which one suits you best (though you'll get limited access to the other hubs regardless).
Connecteam pricing: Free plan available for up to 10 users; paid plans from $29/month (paid annually) for up to 30 users.
Best employee management app for ease of use
With a sleek interface, BambooHR simplifies the complex world of HR by centralizing employee data, tracking time off, managing benefits, and facilitating the hiring process. It doesn't really address task management specifically, but that makes it a great solution for companies looking for something laser-focused on HR.
To give you an idea, BambooHR made it on Zapier's list of the best applicant tracking systems. That's a complex type of software, and it's only a sliver of what the software does. BambooHR also handles employee records, approvals (including automated workflows), analytics, onboarding and offboarding flows, payroll, benefits, performance management, employee well-being management, eNPS surveys, and everything in between. Its interactive features allow HR to manage data and managers to handle performance, while empowering employees with more access and control over their information and goals.
Ryan McKenzie, co-founder and CMO of Tru Earth, is a fan of the employee self-service features, which took a load off the company's HR team. He also likes the performance management features, which made it easy to embody their values of growth and improvement, providing tools for regular check-ins and goal management to create a constructive feedback loop.
By connecting BambooHR with Zapier, you can streamline your employee management even more. For example, you can log time off requests as Google Calendar events or let people know in Slack when new team members join. Learn more about how to automate BambooHR, or try one of the templates below.
Add new BambooHR time off requests as Google Calendar events
Post new employees added in BambooHR to a Slack channel
BambooHR pricing: Custom
Best employee management software for small- to medium-sized businesses
Zenefits is another all-in-one HR software solution that does everything from onboarding to payroll. It includes all the HR features you could want to manage your employees: org charts, self-service records, insights and analytics, benefits, PTO requests—and all sorts of niche features within those tools as well. Anything you or your employees need to manage human resources, you'll find it in Zenefits.
What sets Zenefits apart is that it's owned by Trinet, a trusted SMB payroll and benefits company that lots of small- and medium-sized businesses outsource their HR to. Having that big name behind it is a nice perk, especially when you're trusting your human resources to it.
Daniel Anderson, editor and founder of The Money Maniac, uses Zenefits to manage his staff. Because Zenefits syncs employee data with scheduling, payroll, and benefits, it takes a load off his plate, which is important because he doesn't have a big team to deal with the nitty-gritty.
Zenefits pricing: From $8/employee/month for the Essentials plan; $27/employee/month for access to all features including payroll.
Best employee management software for employee feedback and development
Leapsome seamlessly integrates various aspects of people management into one accessible platform, making it easier for companies to monitor and enhance both employee performance and engagement. Whether you're implementing performance review cycles, trying to create more team alignment through OKRs, or designing personalized learning paths, Leapsome provides the tools to make these tasks efficient and effective.
The software also stands out with its robust employee engagement capabilities. With options to conduct quick surveys and polls, you can gain valuable insights about your employees' satisfaction and morale. Its 360° feedback feature ensures a holistic understanding of an employee's work to make more space for transparency and continuous improvement. Users also get meeting management tools and 1-on-1 meeting features to help team members discuss projects and form more personal connections.
To Jon Morgan, the CEO and editor-in-chief of Venture Smarter, these performance management tools have been the most valuable. He told me that being able to set clear goals, provide continuous feedback, and give thorough employee reviews has boosted his company's team involvement and growth tremendously.
It's not a full HR solution, but if your employee management focus is on employee development and engagement, Leapsome could be a great fit.
Leapsome pricing: Custom
Best employee management software for local businesses
Eddy provides an impressive suite of features to minimize the admin burden on HR—with a special focus on local businesses.
It includes all the expected bells and whistles: an employee directory, onboarding, time tracking, PTO tracking, onboarding, manager approval workflows, and more. But some of the standout features come with Eddy's add-ons for hiring and payroll.
The applicant tracking system (ATS) add-on includes all sorts of tools, including automated texts and emails, self-scheduled interview options, and candidate profiles. Fawaz Naser, CEO of Softlist.io, says this integrated hiring feature has been a game-changer for simplifying the process of posting jobs, reviewing applications, scheduling interviews, and onboarding new hires. Companies that want to showcase opportunities on their own website can easily set up a customizable career page without any complex coding.
The payroll add-on includes time-tracking features, benefits, withholdings, and taxes, all easily tracked in the system. And if you ever have a compliance-related query, the team of payroll experts at Eddy is always ready to help.
Eddy pricing: From $6/person/month, but you'll need to contact them for details about your organization.
Other employee management systems to consider
As I was researching employee management apps and interviewing users for this roundup, I came across all sorts of apps that bring something interesting to the table. I think the six above cover the majority of use cases in the best way possible, but there are plenty of other options to choose more.
Some of these apps were recommended by the professionals I interviewed and some of them I discovered myself, but I think they're worth mentioning because they offer unique features and specializations that can meet the needs of various businesses. To make it easier for you to find what you're looking for, I've organized these apps into categories, based on notable strengths.
Payroll, benefits, and compliance
Paycor specializes in payroll processing, timekeeping, and recruiting, and best suits small to medium-sized businesses searching for an all-in-one HR solution.
Deel stands out for its international payroll, compliance, and contractor management services, perfect for companies that hire remote employees from around the world. It also has a Zapier integration, so you can connect it to thousands of other apps.
Gusto simplifies payroll, benefits administration, and onboarding, making it a favorite among small to medium-sized businesses and even contractors looking for user-friendly HR software.
Justworks integrates payroll, benefits, and compliance for growing businesses in need of a holistic HR platform.
Rippling merges employee management, payroll, IT, and benefits into a single platform, which makes it great for businesses wanting to manage their human resources and IT in one platform.
Workflow management and automation
RotaCloud specializes in employee scheduling, attendance, and time tracking, making it especially helpful for those in the hospitality and retail sectors that depend on shift planning. Its Zapier integration will let you connect it to all the other tools you use too.
Kissflow is known for its flexible workflow automation and customizable HR processes, catering to businesses looking for a cloud-based platform that can be tailored to their specific needs.
Workday offers cloud-based software solutions for finance, spend management, and planning, catering to larger corporations that need an integrated solution for HR and finance.
Training and talent development
Litmos is recognized for its learning management system (LMS), which includes course creation and analytics—great for businesses of any size that prioritize training and eLearning.
Cornerstone also offers talent management, learning, and workforce development, which appeals to organizations aiming for an all-encompassing talent and learning management solution.
Oracle Cloud HCM combines HR admin and payroll with talent management and workforce modeling, tailored for large, global enterprises looking for a comprehensive HR and talent management platform.
Performance management and employee engagement
Lattice is best known for its performance reviews and employee engagement surveys, making it ideal for companies that want to enhance employee engagement through regular check-ins and goal setting.
15Five focuses on performance management, feedback, and employee engagement tools, making it a good choice for companies committed to continuous performance feedback and employee growth.
Trinet offers full-service HR solutions, including payroll and benefits administration, making it a go-to for small and medium-sized businesses that may need to outsource their HR needs.
Insperity provides HR outsourcing, performance management, and employee benefits, tailored for small to medium-sized businesses looking to delegate their HR tasks.
Which employee management software is best?
Whether you're a small business looking for basic features or a large enterprise in need of comprehensive solutions, one of these employee management apps should fit your needs. The "perfect" solution may not exist, but the options highlighted here represent what the industry has to offer in terms of flexibility, user experience, and overall effectiveness.