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Many businesses and HR leaders rely on human resource management software to help with managing employees. Any program that handles employee information and helps with people management and other HR tasks can be considered HR software. Some HR tools focus on specific functions of human resource management, while others try to provide a comprehensive HR solution.

If your HR team is new to an HR system or looking to improve your business’s tools, they may not know what to look for. This article examines different types of HR software and describes their benefits and features. And it will give you a better understanding of how HR software can help your business.

HR software for onboarding and offboarding

Onboarding and offboarding software support HR in bringing on a new employee or offboarding them when they leave the company. They ensure compliance with all parts of onboarding and offboarding, such as collecting direct deposit information or closing employee email accounts.


These software automate the cumbersome HR processes of onboarding and offboarding. The element of compliance is particularly beneficial—no loose ends are left in the processes. 

Key and advanced features

Onboarding software and offboarding software focus on the beginning and end of an employee’s tenure. These systems will include the following key features:

  • Document storage
  • Onboarding checklist
  • Knowledge management
  • Self-service app
  • Onboarding and offboarding checklists
  • Benefits selection

In addition, employee onboarding software might also include the advanced feature of role-specific training for use during the onboarding process. 

HR software for benefits administration

Benefits administration software includes tools to help manage a benefits package. These HR tools assist with payroll processing, insurance, paid time off, retirement accounts, and different forms of employee benefits like bonuses or commissions.


A benefits administration system can manage the full compensation of employees on one platform. This saves time for the HR department and employees, who can access compensation materials on one platform.

Key and advanced features

Benefits software focuses on all methods of employee compensation. These systems will include the following:

  • Self-service portal for employees
  • Payroll deductions
  • Total compensation management
  • Automation of rewards management, pay programs, and incentives

Benefits software may also include these advanced features:

  • Built-in integrations with payroll service and other HR systems
  • Strategic insights to inform your compensation strategy

HR software for employee engagement

Employee engagement software is intended to support employees in feeling purpose at work. It assists the organization in open communication with employees, employee recognition, gathering and acting on feedback, and creating an excellent employee experience.


An engaged employee outperforms one who isn’t. Employee engagement software, used well, can help an employer build effective teams that are motivated to help the company achieve strategic goals. 

Key and advanced features

An employee engagement tool will include these key features:

  • Engagement dashboards, gamification, and activity feeds 
  • Tools for goal setting and tracking
  • Visualization of employee goals
  • Performance evaluation tools
  • Employee engagement survey and feedback options
  • Employee recognition tools

Some advanced features that employee engagement software may have to include the following:

  • Training tools
  • Integrations with other HR and business platforms

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HR software for employee training and development

Training software is used to manage the learning of employees and to create and manage an employee training program. These types of software include tools to deliver third-party training programs, create and deliver proprietary training materials, support onboarding, and track an employee’s learning journey and career development.


Training software can ensure a new employee has the appropriate training and knowledge. It also ensures that employees are following company or legal policies. For example, if your company requires cybersecurity training, this software enables you to provide that training and track employees who successfully complete it.

Key and advanced features

Training software focuses on employee learning and development. These systems will include these key features:

  • Online learning portals
  • Employee data tracking
  • Automated notifications for learners
  • HR reporting and HR analytics
  • Compliance tracking
  • Assessment tools

In addition to these key features, training software may also include these advanced features:

  • Personalized user experience
  • Course authoring
  • Integrations with other learning and HR management software

HR software for performance management

A performance management system focuses on the performance of individual employees. This tool helps you track, measure, and reward employees for high performance. And it enables you to conduct a performance appraisal, which helps you manage and track employee performance and deliver performance reviews. Other performance-focused tools enable you to collect employee feedback or reviews of employees from others. 


A major benefit of these systems is their ability to standardize, formalize, and automate employee reviews and the performance review process. This is beneficial for the HR department, managers, and employees. 

Key and advanced features

Performance software includes these key features:

  • Review and feedback processing
  • Improvement plan creation
  • Reporting and workforce analytics

A performance management tool may also include these advanced features:

  • Built-in employee training software
  • Integrations with other HR software

HR software for employee scheduling

Employee scheduling software support businesses with managing the work schedules of their employees. They provided user-friendly interfaces for managers and staff to view and manage schedules.


An employee shift scheduling software provides visibility into each individual employee's schedule while providing tools to manage business-wide staff scheduling. Employees can easily view and make changes to their schedules, while managers can ensure shift coverage.

Key and advanced features

Many employee scheduling software packages include the following key features:

  • Employee scheduling app
  • Shift assigning
  • Shift swapping
  • Worker profiles
  • Resource forecasting 

A scheduling tool may also include these advanced features:

  • Attendance tracking
  • Leave management
  • Integrations with other business systems
  • Multiplatform support, including mobile, for use with different devices and operating systems

HR software for payroll and accounting

Payroll and accounting software automates the payroll process for small and large businesses. Processing payroll can be very labor-intensive and complicated without a payroll system.


The benefit of a payroll tool is the automation it provides. This not only saves time but also reduces errors, and it can assist with compliance and payroll taxes.

Key and advanced features

Payroll and accounting software should include these key features:

  • Wage calculation
  • Integration with time clock systems and attendance apps
  • Employee payment processing
  • Tax document storage

Payroll software may also include these advanced features:

  • Compliance support
  • Tax filing tools and support

HR software for recruitment and hiring

HR recruitment software helps a business source job applicants. This tool posts advertisement for open jobs to multiple job boards (both third-party job boards and your own job board) and tracks those postings.


Recruiting software creates an automated, more streamlined recruiting process. You can automate job postings and resume collection. This software can even eliminate unqualified candidates before your hiring manager even receives their applications.

Key and advanced features

Recruiting software focuses on talent acquisition. It may include some or all of these key features:

  • Development of a job posting to attract job seekers
  • Applicant tracking system software
  • Candidate screening
  • Ranking and sorting qualified candidates
  • Interview process management
  • Interview scheduling
  • Recruitment templates and guidance
  • Integration and support for existing job boards
  • Internal review and evaluation tools

Recruitment software may also include these advanced features:

  • Recruitment marketing
  • Recruiting through social media or direct messaging
  • Recruiting process automation

HR software for reporting for strategic insights

Human resources reporting software and HR analytics software are intended to support your business by providing business performance insights. These types of software can collect and analyze data about your business, presenting the data in digestible HR reports to inform strategic planning.


The computing power of this type of software enables it to distinguish patterns and uncover strategic insight from data that would not be discernible to the naked eye.

Key and advanced features

HR reporting and analytics software focus on providing strategic insights. These systems include these key features:

  • Data and document storage
  • Feedback and review tools
  • Goal maps
  • Analysis of HR metrics and reporting

HR reporting software may also include these advanced features:

  • Custom dashboards
  • Integrations with other HR and business platforms

HR information systems software

Human resource information systems (HRISs) are a type of software intended to streamline talent management processes through a collection of tools that assist with core HR functions and workflows. 


The benefit of HRIS software is the ability to have all your employees’ information in a central database that can integrate with other core HR software and business systems. This streamlines organizational processes and functions.

Key and advanced features

HR information software has some baseline features. A few of those key features are the following:

  • Master data management
  • Employee and manager self-services
  • Absence and leave management
  • Benefits administration
  • Performance appraisals
  • Recruiting and applicant tracking

An HRIS system may also include these advanced features:

  • Training management
  • Employee onboarding
  • Integrations with other HR and business software

HR management systems software

HR management systems (HRMSs) are a comprehensive HR solution. HRMS software can support the full suite of HR activities, including recruiting, benefits management, performance management, resource management, and employee training.


These systems automate and integrate many functions of an HR department. This software integrates with other HR systems so that HR professionals can store and access information, perform HR activities, and manage large projects more smoothly.  

Key and advanced features

HR management software has a wide range of features:

  • Hiring process automations
  • Talent pool searchability
  • Employee onboarding 
  • Employee development
  • Document management and storage

Many HRMS software packages include features of several other software types. Some of these features are the following:

  • Employee database 
  • Self-service portal for employees
  • Benefits administration
  • Performance management tools
  • Talent management tools
  • Employee offboarding tools
  • Workflow tools
  • Employee scheduling software
  • Reporting and analytics

HRMSs may also include these advanced features:

  • Employee engagement platform 
  • Employee satisfaction surveys
  • Integrations with other business systems
  • Built-in training tools

Applicant tracking systems software

Applicant tracking systems (ATS) software helps businesses source job applicants and track candidates through the application, interview, and hiring process. ATS software helps move a qualified candidate through the entire process, from application to acceptance of a job offer. 


ATS software saves time and energy so that you can reduce the time-to-hire for your business. Additionally, candidates will have a better applicant experience as they move through the process. Some of these systems can even provide HR data and reports on the types of candidates you are attracting and which candidate profiles are likely to receive and accept offers. 

Key and advanced features

You’ll likely find the following features in a quality ATS tool:

  • Candidate screening
  • Ranking and sorting for qualified candidates
  • Resume storage
  • Interview process management
  • Internal review and evaluation tools

An ATS platform may also include these advanced features:

  • Recruiting through social media or direct messaging
  • Two-way human resource software integrations

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Now, you have knowledge of the different types of HR software (like free HR software, enterprise HR software, and Canadian HR software), their benefits, and their features. You should have an idea of whether you need software with a narrow focus, like a simple onboarding tool, or more comprehensive HR software that will assist greatly with your human resource strategy.

By Finn Bartram

Finn is an editor at People Managing People. He's passionate about growing organizations where people are empowered to continuously improve and genuinely enjoy coming to work. If not at his desk, you can find him playing sports or enjoying the great outdoors.