| 1 August, 2023 | 14 Min Read

Top 10 best free HR software that work in 2023 (updated)

What's the most critical step when digitizing your HR operations? Finding the perfect free HR software to do it with. There are many options out there, so in this article, we will be showing you the top 10 HR software systems with pros and cons that work perfectly with zero budget spent.(Updated on Aug 2023)

In this article, we will provide an overview of the top 10 best free HR software that actually work in 2023. We'll highlight the significance of HR software in modern HR management and provide the list with pros and cons for your selection.

Why HR needs HR software?

In today's fast-paced business environment, HR professionals face numerous challenges in managing a diverse and dynamic workforce. The future of HR software will be integrated with AI & ML to create seamless employee experience and engagement.

Without the support of HR software, these challenges can become significant pain points for HR departments:

  • Data Loss: Manual record-keeping puts employee data at risk. Without HR software, there's a higher chance of data vulnerability and loss, especially when an HR team member leaves the department. Critical information may be misplaced, impacting compliance and confidentiality.

  • Human Errors and Inefficiencies: Relying on manual processes leaves room for human errors. HR professionals may need to improve managing various HR tasks, leading to delays in onboarding, payroll processing, or employee evaluations. Such errors can hinder productivity and create dissatisfaction among employees.

  • Dependency on HR Professionals: Without HR software, many routine tasks require HR professionals' direct involvement. This dependency can slow down responses to employee queries, requests for time off, and other administrative processes. As a result, HR teams may struggle to allocate time for strategic HR initiatives.

  • Inadequate Talent Management: Recruitment and talent management become laborious without HR software. HR professionals may find it challenging to track applicants, evaluate candidates, and streamline the hiring process. Consequently, organizations might miss out on top talent, affecting overall productivity and growth.

  • Limited Insights and Analytics: Manually collecting and analyzing HR data is time-consuming and provides little insight. HR professionals may need help to derive meaningful analytics and trends from data, hindering their ability to make data-driven decisions that optimize workforce performance.

Is HR software expensive?

In the realm of HR management, pricing of HR software can vary significantly based on factors like the software's features, the number of users, and the level of customization and the complexity of existing in-house processes.

HR software pricing typically follows a user-based or usage/features model. In the user-based approach, the cost is determined by the number of users who will access the platform, allowing scalability as an organization grows.

On the other hand, the usage/features model assesses pricing based on the specific features and functionalities required, offering flexibility for businesses to choose the most relevant tools for their HR needs. Both pricing models cater to different organizational requirements, providing options that align with the scale and complexity of HR operations.

While some organizations may opt for tailored solutions to meet specific needs, the cost associated with such customization can be substantial. However, a select few HR software options have emerged amidst this landscape, offering free features that cater to the essential requirements of daily HR tasks.

In this article, we will explore the benefits of these free HRIS software solutions and how they can be a game-changer for HR professionals in startups and small and medium-sized companies seeking efficient and cost-effective solutions to streamline their HR processes.

Top 10 best free HR software for startups and SMBs. 

This makes HR software sought after, and due to demand, quite a lot of HR software has risen up with different functions at different prices. So from the numerous options of HR software out there, this article will be looking at 10 HR software that can manage your HR tasks and ease your burden at no cost at all.

Here's a look at the list of 10 best free HR software in 2023 that offers all the essential features for your core HR operations.

1. Grove HR

Grove HR is an all-in-one free HR management software for startups and small and medium-sized businesses. It provides a full employee lifecycle solution comprises of managing employee record management, onboarding new hires, processing time tracking, recruiting, doing payroll assistance, conducting 360-degree performance reviews, and much more. All in one place. Grove HR is dedicated to helping you digitize your human resource management so you can create a remarkable employee experience.

Creating a free account only takes about 1-2 minutes. Once logging in, you can explore the premium features of the software for 14 days. After that, you will be downgraded to a free plan. If your company's less than 50 employees, you can continue enjoying the free plan + employee mobile app at no cost and with no time limits; otherwise, you can refer to their pricing plan packed with advanced features, which are quite affordable for SMB companies. 

Pros: Grove HR offers a user-friendly interface that makes it easy for HR professionals and employees to navigate and use the platform effectively. The software provides a wide range of HR features, which allows organizations to handle various HR tasks efficiently within a single platform. Grove HR includes self-service capabilities that empower employees to access and update their personal information, submit leave requests, see company view pay stubs, and more. This reduces the administrative burden on HR staff and enhances employee autonomy.

Cons: While Grove HR offers customizable workflows, there may be some limitations in terms of customizing certain features or visual elements. Users looking for extensive customization options may find these limitations restrictive. Also, it has a few integrations with other software systems. 


Grove HR - Top 10 best free HR software for SMBs that actually work in 2021


2. Bitrix24

Bitrix24 is a business management platform that works with businesses of various types and sizes. It comes with different apps that help your business stay at the top of its game. This includes project management, contact center management, human resource management, and customer relationship management (CRM).

The platform allows you to add up to 12 free users. In addition, the free CRM system grants you 5 GB worth of online storage capacity and an integrated call center.

Pros: Users have found Bitrix24 useful in managing diverse departments, including sales, marketing, and HR. They also found the timesheet functionality extremely helpful when tracking the amount of time employees spend on different projects.

Cons: However, some users complain that the free version of the platform adds a Bitrix24 reference at the end of every email – including the emails sent out to job applicants.


Grove HR - Top 10 best free HR software for SMBs that actually work in 2021


3. OrangeHRM

Launched in 2005, OrangeHRM is one of the most popular open-source HR systems. It comes in two other versions: professional and enterprise. The free and open-source version is available and includes performance management, expense tracking, employee directory, leave management, compliance management, time and attendance management, recruiting, and other document management functionalities.

Pros: Most users like the recruiting functionality in the open-source version, and find it very useful. This is because it supports them in designing hiring workflows of different ranges, from issuing a job offer letter to posting a job vacancy.

Cons: Some users highlight that the lack of payroll integration is a big drawback as they have to manually move employee records out of the HR system.


Grove HR - Top 10 best free HR software for SMBs that actually work in 2021


4. WebHR

WebHR is a cloud-based human resource management solution that operates well with all types of businesses. Most importantly, it has a free version that can support up to five users at a time! It comes with many benefits, including employee records, employee self-service, time and attendance tracking, dashboard functionalities, leave tracking, file management, and onboarding.

Pros: Most users find standard reports such as employee data and payroll helpful when making serious management decisions. They also find it easy to customize these reports to their needs.

Cons: it should be noted that the recruiting module lacks some necessary features. For example, the product is currently unable to screen job candidates based on educational qualifications such as their level of degree.


Grove HR - Top 10 best free HR software for SMBs that actually work in 2021


5. ZohoPeople

As a part of Zoho’s ecosystem for businesses, Zoho People is a single platform to organize, automate, and simplify HR processes. The free version allows up to 5 employees to the system. It includes various self-service features, leaves management, employee directory, project management and onboarding.

Pros: Zoho People’s HR modules can be easily customized. For instance, you can customize employee forms, modify recruiting workflows, and add data fields.

Cons: Some users say that the mobile app’s structure is too complicated and needs an upgrade. Thus, it's difficult to navigate the app or search for information.


Grove HR - Top 10 best free HR software for SMBs that actually work in 2021


6. HRnest

HRnest is an intuitive software dedicated to the support of the day-to-day work of HR departments. The system provides employees with a way to turn in their holiday requests easily. Afterward, the employer is able to monitor working time, leave records, and can create various timetables for the use of the whole company. HRnest also helps in managing employees' personal files via email notifications, bulk action, automated reporting, and a handy calendar.

Pros: Users have commended its UI as interactive and easy to use.

Cons: Some users are waiting for other functionalities like performance review form processing as an idea for system development.


Grove HR - Top 10 best free HR software for SMBs that actually work in 2021


7. Sentrifugo

Sentrifugo offers quite a lot of functionality with its personnel tracking function, recruitment, time and attendance, performance appraisals, background checks, and employee onboarding/offboarding. All these functions are available on its free plan, making it an attractive option in the free HR category.

Pros: Sentrifugo has no hidden fees or limitations.

Cons: Cost of maintenance of your servers. If you do not have the IT capacity, you'd have to pay to maintain your servers to use Sentrifugo.


Grove HR - Top 10 best free HR software for SMBs that actually work in 2021


8. Freshteam

Freshteam is an intuitive, easy-to-use HR software by Freshworks that helps you onboard, manage employee information, time off management, and offboard effectively. Its free version also includes essential HR functions like leave management and application tracking processes but is limited to 50 employees.

Updated in June 2023: Freshteam is paused for new registers, only allowing existing users to continue using the product. 

Pros: Freshteam is ideal for teams who need both tracking and recruitment functions in one place.

Cons: The free plan is limited, and customers usually complain about their customer service.


Grove HR - Top 10 best free HR software for SMBs that actually work in 2021


9. IceHRM

IceHRM is a Human resource management system for small and medium-sized organizations that want to streamline HR management with the ability to self-host. IceHRM helps you track every bit of time spent and automates your leave management. IceHRM also offers an easy payroll process.

Pros: Users have said that the app is easy to use with an impressive user interface.

Cons: the negative feedback about the software is that IceHRM doesn't have a mobile app and the free version only allows up to 5 users.


Grove HR - Top 10 best free HR software for SMBs that actually work in 2021


10. Rise

Rise is a platform that aids small businesses in managing their main HR operations. They offer a free version in the form of Rise Lite. Rise Lite is a payroll software system that's available for businesses with twenty employees or fewer in Canada.

Pros: Rise helps you pay employees faster, settle discrepancies quickly and create formulas to handle commissions, benefits deductions, bonuses, and RRSP matching.

Cons: If your business doesn't operate in Canada, then you shouldn't consider Rise Lite at all.


Grove HR - Top 10 best free HR software for SMBs that actually work in 2021


Key takeaways

Choosing a right HR software can be a daunting task, so here are a few factors to consider before implementing HR software.

1. What are your biggest frustrations right now in HR?

What operation are you looking to cut down on time spent on them? For instance, is time off requests taking too long to be approved or rejected? Is employee turnover very exhausting?

Look for areas where your company's burden is heavy. Then select the HR software that can ease those burdens away.

2. What HR activity does your company currently excel in?

Not everything in the HR department of your company would need fixing. Figure out the areas where you are already comfortable handling, which would help streamline the HR software list.

By knowing the areas your company excels in, you can easily pick out software to help your company in the areas it struggles with.

3. What extra/bonus service would benefit your company most?

Not all software offers the same bonus services on their free plan. For instance, Grove HR offers you to add up to 50 employees and use a Free plan free of charge. Bitrix24 allows you to add up to 12 free users and offers 5GB storage, while FreshTeam allows up to 50 users but it has poor customer service.

Before making a decision, you need to understand which extra services the software offers will be beneficial to you.

Make your decision

It can't be stressed enough the need for effective HRIS software. Digitizing your HR operations would not only save you valuable time and ease stress, but it would also increase your efficiency and provide analysis that'd help take your business forward.

There are quite a few free human resource management systems available with which you'd be able to manage your core HR activities. Selecting one from the highlighted ten would then come down to a matter of preference and which product offers the most in its free version.

When your company grow, it is a good advice to have a certain budget for HRIS software. Make sure you refer to this article to consider factors to select a best-to-fit HR system software and decide a good time to adopt HR tools.

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Reduce manual effort with automated HR processes

  • Reduce manual effort with automated HR processes
  • Automate attendance and time off.
  • Conduct 360-degree performance management easily.