There are seemingly countless free HR software solutions available, so figuring out which is best for you is tough. You want to automate and manage employee-related tasks like recruitment, payroll, performance tracking, and benefits administration but need to figure out which tool is the best fit. In this post, I make things simple, leveraging my experience in HR and recruitment using dozens of different HR tools to bring you this shortlist of the best free HR software overall.
What is HR Software?
Human resources (HR) software is a digital tool for managing employee-related activities, aimed at streamlining HR processes like hiring, payroll, performance management, and benefits administration. The purpose of HR software is to automate certain human resource tasks, improving efficiency and accuracy in managing employee-related processes.
Free HR software does all or some of the above either for free or by offering an extended free trial.
Deel is a powerful HR software platform that’s perfect for small businesses on a budget. In fact, its HR features are completely free for businesses with fewer than 200 workers. With a range of essential features for effective HR management, it’s a perfect all-in-one tool to build and grow a startup.
Why I picked Deel: One of the key features of Deel is its comprehensive and accessible self-service platform. Employees and contractors can securely login to view their own information and make updates as needed. This is a convenient and time-saving feature that can help to streamline HR processes. You can make use of Deel’s integrations to automate many common HR workflows, from background checks to equipment management.
Deel Features & Integrations:
Features include comprehensive reporting and analytics tools so you can make quickly make informed decisions about your entire workforce. If you decide to run payroll with Deel’s in-house experts, Deel can take care of benefits and compliance administration for over 150 countries, so you can hire anywhere with confidence.
Overall, Deel is a great choice for small businesses looking for a reliable and cost-effective HR software solution. Its global support and comprehensive features make it an excellent choice for businesses of all sizes.
Integrations are available natively with Ashby, BambooHR, Expensify, Greenhouse, Hibob, Netsuite, Okta, OneLogin, Quickbooks, SCIM, Xero, Workday, and Workable.
What's Free: Their free plan is available to organizations with less than 200 employees. Included are onboarding and offboarding tools, payroll processing, benefits, a time-off tracker, expense management tools, a document management system, and government declarations.
If you need more features you can scale up to one of their flexible paid plans. Deel offers clear, simple per-user pricing with no hidden fees or extensive contracts. You can also request a free demo through their website.
Connecteam is a highly versatile, fully featured HR software for small to medium-sized businesses. It’s designed to provide an all-in-one solution for crucial HR functions, including time tracking, scheduling, and employee management. Users can customize various aspects of the software to suit their business's unique needs, like it's policy builder, which helps create custom HR policies from scratch to suit your business model and work culture.
Why I Picked Connecteam: Connecteam's time tracking feature allows employees to easily clock in and out of work using their mobile phones. The feature allows managers to see which employees are currently working, their location, and the task they are working on at any given time. Connecteam's communication tools allow managers to send employees messages, notifications, and alerts throughout the day. It offers a chat feature enabling team members to communicate easily, whether remote, at a job site, or in the office.
Connecteam’s training and onboarding module ensures new hires know the company's policies, procedures, and operations. It also provides a practical and convenient way to train employees in new skills, processes, and technologies. This feature enables organizations to deliver customized training to employees with varying skill levels and learning styles. Connecteam provides an extensive directory that allows managers to store employee data, including their contact details, work history, and performance reports. The software enables SMBs to create forms and checklists specific to their business needs, improving workflow and streamlining processes. These customizable forms and lists can be used for a wide range of tasks, such as tracking employee progress, tracking completed tasks, and logging incidents.
Connectam Standout Features & Integrations
Features include 2-factor authentication, 360-degree feedback, attendance tracking, contact management, data export/data import, data visualization, employee onboarding, expense tracking, feedback management, onboarding, notifications, project management, scheduling, timesheets, vacation & absence calendar, time management, employee engagement, and rewards & recognition.
Integrations include Google Calendar, Gusto, QuickBooks Payroll, and others.
What's Free: Connecteam's free plan contains a little bit of everything from each module. You'll get all basic functionality, like 1 time clock, unliited projects, payroll integration, a shift schedule view, checklists and forms, task management, and 30 admin seats. Check out their pricing page for a complete list of what's included and what features are limited to paid plans.
Built by Freshworks, this free applicant tracking solution covers all phases of the hiring process.
Why I picked Freshteam: Their ATS helps recruiters source, screen, interview, and hire candidates. They can also generate offer letters using email templates and send feedback reminders to hiring panel members. In addition, the suite offers leave management capabilities for existing employees.
Users can sync candidate conversations with the applicant tracking solution. The result is a consolidated view of conversations that senior hiring managers can view. In addition, HR managers can customize Freshteam by adding custom questions to the application forms.
Freshteam Features & Integrations:
Features include customizable career sites, integration with multiple free and premium job boards, and social media channels. The software also has the ability to listen to emails, making it easy for you to recognize emails from job boards or vendors to add them to your candidate base. Once the candidates are in, the recruiting team can collaborate with hiring managers to screen and interview them, share feedback and leave notes for each other, hire, and roll out offers to the best candidates.
Integrations are available with all sorts of tools such as assessment portals, video interviewing platforms, job boards, and productivity software.
What's Free: Freshteam offers a free forever plan for up to 50 employees. This includes 3 active jobs, a basic career site, a candidate pipeline, employee referrals, customizable hiring workflows, a shared recruitment team inbox, and team collaboration tools.
Zoho provides free HR software through two main applications: Zoho People and Zoho Recruit.
Why I picked Zoho: Zoho People features leave management, time tracking, attendance management, and form customization. There is also an employee self-service option, allowing workers to access, update and modify their own records.
Zoho Recruit offers an applicant tracking system covering resume parsing, automated job board posting, resume storage, and interview scheduling. The software can also build career pages that list job postings, then accept and process applications.
Zoho Features & Integrations:
Features include a database for your employee information, time off tracking tools, job postings, and basic recruiting tools like interview scheduling and candidate management.
Integrations are available with Zoho's extensive portfolio of business suites. This allows your HR team to scale their processes into larger automation solutions as your business needs grow and expand.
What's Free: Zoho offers a basic free forever plan with limited features for up to 5 users. For Zoho People, their free plan includes an employee database and time off management tools. For Zoho Recruit, their free plan supports one active job posting, free access to job boards, candidate management, integrated email, and interview scheduling. Both products also offer a 30-day free trial as well.
Apptivo is a suite of applications designed for managing small businesses.
Why I picked Apptivo: In addition to human resources, the suite includes everything from financial controls to supply chain management. The core of the HR management system is the Employees App, which allows you to create and maintain a list of employee profiles, grant employee access, or terminate employees and assign their roles to others.
Apptivo Features & Integrations:
Features include integrated apps, customizable workflows, custom dashboards, customizable fields for each app, and 24/7 customer support.
Integrations are available with Asterix, Dropbox, Google Suite, Microsoft Office 365, OneDrive, PayPal, RingCentral, Slack, Stripe, Quickbooks, Xero, and several others.
What's Free: Apptivo no longer offers a free forever plan. However, a 30-day free trial is available to test out their software.
OrangeHRM is a scalable HR solution for small to medium-sized businesses. The software manages the whole employment life cycle, from employee onboarding to termination or retirement.
Why I picked OrangeHRM: Their HRMS platform is available through cloud hosting or on-premise hosting, depending on your needs. The cloud version of their product called OrangeHRM Starter is available for free under an open-source license, making it an excellent choice for small businesses or startups.
Their performance management capabilities include 180° and 360° employee reviews, which give you a clear view of each team member's contribution. Review questions can be customized as required to suit a particular role. Goal-tracking features help to keep employees on track to succeed.
OrangeHRM Features & Integrations:
Features include core modules for managing employee information, a corporate directory, attendance & time management, PTO & leave management, candidate recruiting (including an applicant tracking system), performance reviews, benefits administration, and reporting & analytics. They also have a mobile app that supports PTO requests, employee attendance, and clocking in and out.
Integration details are not mentioned on their website. However, they do have an API that supports them.
What's Free: Their OrangeHRM Starter product is free to use through an open-source license, and includes the features described above. They also offer a free demo or a 30-day free trial through their website.
Bitrix24 is a web-based HR system for small businesses. If you are looking for an open-source HR software solution, Bitrix24 is likely to be top of your list. The software packs in plenty of features useful for companies without a large HR team.
Why I picked Bitrix24: Their HR platform includes many human resources tools, plus a wide range of additional CRM and project management features. One of my favorite features is the self-service HR portal. Employees can use this to access basic HR functions without needing to speak to someone from HR. For example, you set up workflows for vacation requests and business trip permissions.
Their HR platform also includes everything you need to collaborate and communicate across your HR team. Each team member can access all company messages, documents, and calendars. You can also set permissions for specific content to ensure each team member only sees what they need to see.
You’ll get the most out of Bitrix24 with some additional tech/coding knowledge on your side, as the public source code access allows for near limitless customization and integration.
Bitrix24 Features & Integrations:
Features include core HR functions such as an employee directory, company structure, a company knowledge base, document management, and time & attendance features, which are included in the free version. An unlimited number of users can use these. However, some essential functions such as leave management and time tracking are only available with a paid subscription.
Integrations with numerous apps are available through their App Marketplace, or by taking advantage of their REST API.
What's Free: You can use Bitrix24’s core features for free, which may be all that small businesses need. If you need additional HR features, you can scale up to one of their paid plans easily.
WebHR helps HR departments manage the employee lifecycle, from the initial hiring process through to retirement. Their all-in-one HR software includes core HR, payroll, recruitment, performance, and time & attendance modules, and is available in 30 languages.
Why I picked WebHR: Mobile apps are available for both iOS and Android devices so that employees can quickly log time worked with geo-tracking. Managers can monitor employee hours using the time and attendance features. In addition, the software integrates with biometric devices such as card readers and finger scanners.
WebHR Features & Integrations:
Features include personnel tracking, payroll, benefits administration, an applicant tracking system (ATS), a learning management system (LMS), employee performance, goal management, onboarding, forms & surveys, background checking tools, and asset tracking tools.
Integrations are available with 24+ popular HR tools, including Asana, Bonusly, FreshBooks, Indeed, LinkedIn, Slack, Xero, Quickbooks, Zapier, Zip Recruiter, and others.
What's Free: Teams with less than 5 employees can use WebHR's software for free. For larger teams, they offer very affordable module-based pricing starting at $3/employee/month.
HRLocker is an integrated HRIS database that covers core human resources functionalities so companies can concentrate on strategic decisions and productivity.
Why I picked HRLocker: Their HR platform includes a digital document management system where you can publish an unlimited number of HR documents to create an easily accessible repository for your employees. Within that module, HR teams can also request digital signatures on training documents, as needed, and send out reminders to anyone who hasn't read or signed off on required documentation.
HRLocker Features & Integrations:
Features include modules for holiday and absence management, timesheets, training development, employee data, remote and dual working, performance reviews, and recruitment and onboarding. The HRLocker database also allows users to record employee training courses and upload certificates of completion. Tasks can be assigned to employees or departments, while managers can use the applicant tracking system for recruitment, candidate search, social referral, job boards, and screening.
Integrations are available with 20+ other software systems, including CareerJet, Glassdoor, Google Calendar, Indeed, LinkedIn, Microsoft Office 365, Sage, SimplyHired, Trovit,
What's Free: HRLocker is free to use for 6 months for up to 4 employees. Their free plan includes all the features mentioned above. If you scale up to their first-level paid plan, you can also access customer support and a dedicated account manager.
Beams is an employee engagement survey and recognition software that helps you measure and improve morale at your SMB.
Why I picked Beams: This software is designed to me straightforward and easy to use. But it was also built in partnership with psychology experts, so you can be assured by the level of expertise behind it. The employee surveys measure factors like happiness, wellbeing, and more.
Employees receive pulse surveys to measure their engagement, and then they get automated, personalized recommendations based on their responses. The platform also has an employee recognition tool that can be used to show appreciation for people's work, success, and contributions.
Beams Standout Features & Integrations:
Features include survey anonymity, personalized employee recommendations, reporting and analytics tools, and employee recognition.
Integrations include email and Slack.
What's free: Beams offers a free-forever plan for up to 7 users, or you can try a paid plan free for 30 days.
Need Expert Help Selecting The Right Human Resources (HR) Software?
We’ve joined up with Crozdesk.com to give all our readers (yes, you!) access to Crozdesk’s software advisors. Just use the form below to share your needs, and they will contact you at no cost or commitment. You will then be matched and connected to a shortlist of vendors that best fit your company, and you can access exclusive software discounts!
Best free HR software for all-in-one management
Free demo available
|Flat rate user pricing, with a free version for businesses with up to 200 people||Website|
Best free HR software with scheduling, GPS logs, and time tracking
14-day free trial + free plan available
|From $29/month for 30 users (paid annually)||Website|
Best free applicant tracking software
21-day free trial
|From $1.20/user/month + $71/month base fee||Website|
Best free HR software for scalability
30-day free trial
Best HR software for customizable apps and workflows
30-day free trial
Best free HR software for employee performance management
30-day free trial + free plan available
Best free open-source HR software
Free plan available
|From $49/month (5 users)||Website|
Best free cloud-based HR software for iOS & Android apps
Free plan available (up to 4 employees)
Best HRIS database solution for digital document management
Free plan for 6 months (up to 4 users) + 14-day free trial
Best free employee pulse survey and recognition software
30-day free trial
|Pricing upon request||Website|
Other Free HR Software
Here are a few more worthwhile options that didn't make my shortlist for the best free HR software, but are still worth checking out:
Best free video interviewing platform for recruiting
Best free HR software for multi-lingual organizations
Best free HR software for an employee self-service portal
Best employee well-being and feedback module
Best free employee scheduling software for hourly workforces
Best free HR software for contractor management
Best HR software for staff redundancy evaluations
Selection Criteria for the Best Free HR Software
I'm happy to explain how I prepared this top 10 list, in case you were curious. I started off by developing a long list of HR software with positive user ratings. I then examined each software provider's website in greater detail to determine whether they offered a free plan or not.
Many HR tools do provide a free forever plan (also referred to as a freemium plan), that you can test out to get a feel for their software. However, these basic plans are more of a user-friendly trial, and they won't include the full set of features that paid plans have to offer. For that reason, I've noted which portions of each HR tool above are actually included for free, to save you from doing your own digging.
Finally, to narrow my list down even further, I used the selection criteria below as a framework to guide my ultimate selections for this list.
Each time I build a new top 10 software list, I always try to determine the core functionalities it should cover first, to make sure no crucial features are missing. However, since HR software is a very broad category, this was a bit more challenging than usual!
Instead of starting out with must-have functionalities, I instead decided to round up a longer list of key features that support various core HR processes and tasks. Here are the features I looked for in my research:
- Recruitment & hiring: It might be a complete applicant tracking system (ATS), or just have some built-in features that support your recruitment efforts, like managing job postings.
- Employee scheduling tools: Some systems have schedule templates for hourly workers. Others offer time tracking tools and timesheets to keep records of clock-ins and clock-outs.
- Payroll processing: Calculating and paying salaries while withholding the correct taxes and deductions.
- Employee self-service portals: These can allow team members to update their employee data, access pay stubs, make PTO requests, and more.
- Employee performance management: This might include the ability to conduct performance reviews, collect 360-degree feedback, or set and track goals.
- Employee database: Many platforms let you set up employee profiles and maintain an employee directory with contact information, job titles, and more. You might also be able to set up an org chart.
- Document management: You might be able to store important employee documents, making them easily searchable and accessible to your HR department—while maintaining secure access controls.
- Employee knowledge base: Intranets can sometimes be established to provide clear documentation on company policies or other relevant information for an employee handbook.
Keep in mind that free HR software solutions may only cover 1 or 2 of these items. For a more robust, scalable, comprehensive HR software solution, check out our list of the 10 best HR software solutions for paid, full-featured options.
Beyond the features offered, I always check for how user-friendly a software is. Intuitive interfaces that make it easy for your HR team to jump between modules and find what they’re looking for are key. Mobile apps for Android and iOS also earn a software usability points, as does high quality customer support.
It’s important for a new HR platform to connect easily with your existing tech stack. Many providers offer integrations with popular human resource information systems (HRIS) and other HR management software tools. Some also integrate with popular communication and messaging tools, like Slack and Microsoft Teams.
Of course, the point of this list is to provide you with information on free options for HR management systems. I’ve noted whether each platform provides a free plan, free trial, or some other free option. I’ve also provided pricing information to help you get a sense of what an upgrade would cost.
What is HR software?
Why is some HR software free?
Are there other free or affordable resources for HR professionals?
Get the Latest News on HR Software and More
According to Grand View Research, the human resource management market is worth $17.56 billion and growing at a rate of 12.2% per year. In such a fast-moving sector, you need to stay ahead of the curve—so be sure to sign up for updates.
We’ll keep you up to date with the latest news in the world of people managing people. Get insights from top thinkers—and see how the field of free HR software is evolving.
If you're also up for considering paid HR management tools, you should also check out the 10 Best HRMS for Human Resource Management. With the right software, you’ll be set to make the most of your human capital and take your business to new heights of success.
Related Read: How To Choose HR Software In 5 Easy Steps