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There are seemingly countless HCM (Human Capital Management) software solutions available, so figuring out which is best for you is tough. You want to manage the entire employee lifecycle, from recruitment to retirement, but need to figure out which tool is the best fit. In this post, I make things simple, leveraging my experience as an HR and recruitment specialist using dozens of different HCM tools to bring you this shortlist of the best HCM software overall.

What is HCM Software?

HCM software is a comprehensive digital tool for managing all aspects of human resources across the employee lifecycle. Features include recruitment and onboarding, payroll management, benefits administration, performance evaluation, talent management, time and attendance tracking, and HR analytics.

The purpose of HCM software is to effectively manage and optimize all human resource functions in one place, enhancing workforce productivity and engagement.

Detailed Overviews of the 10 Best HCM Software Systems

Here’s a brief description of each HCM software that made it into my top 10 shortlist. I’ve highlighted each system’s noteworthy features, explained why I included them in this list, and included a screenshot for each to show you their user interface too. Plus, there are 10 additional HCM vendors below if you’d like even more options to consider.

Best HCM software for managing global teams

  • Free demo available
  • Flat rate user pricing
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Rating: 4.8/5

Deel is an advanced HCM system that enables powerful, integrated HR functionalities for an international workforce.

Why I picked Deel: I included Deel in this list because of their advanced management capabilities that are compliant in over 150 countries. Its global-first design lets managers see full worker details for their entire workforce, which is great for getting a true overview of payroll costs and workforce capacity. Deel covers international payroll, PTO tracking, benefits administration, engagement tools like pulse surveys, and ongoing global compliance.

Overall, Deel offers great value for its price as a comprehensive and effective solution for all HR management needs. It offers clear, simple per-user pricing with no hidden fees or extensive contracts.

Deel Standout Features and Integrations:

In terms of features, Deel has a clean web interface, making it easy for users to navigate and find what they need. It also allows employees to access self-service features, including the ability to update and view their own information, such as pay stubs and contact details.

Deel also excels in analysis and reporting, offering customizable reporting features that can deliver actionable insights. Plus, 24/7 customer support is also available to ensure that users have assistance whenever they need it.

Integrations are available with Ashby, BambooHR, Expensify, Greenhouse, Hibob, Netsuite, Okta, OneLogin, Quickbooks, SCIM, Xero, Workday, and Workable. Or you can build your own integrations using the Deel API.

Best HCM software for advanced payroll features

  • 90-day free trial + free demo available
  • From $5/employee/month + $99/month base fee
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Rating: 4.1/5

Paycor modernizes every aspect of people management, from recruiting and onboarding, to career development and retention. Their platform also packs in a wealth if advanced payroll management features too.

Why I picked Paycor: For more than 30 years, Paycor has been listening to and partnering with leaders to learn what they need: a comprehensive, unified HR platform, easy integration with third-party apps, powerful HR analytics, and custom technology and support for specific industry needs. That’s why more than 40,000 customers trust Paycor to help them solve problems and achieve their goals.

Paycor Standout Features and Integrations:

Paycor offers everything from payroll management, to expense management software, analytics tools, recruiting, time and attendance, pulse surveys, learning management, benefits administration, ACA, and more. They are a truly holistic HCM software from top to bottom.

Several advanced features include proactive alerts for any salary changes, to help you catch any potential errors before they become problematic, and an OnDemand Pay feature that also allows employees to access their wages in advance of their next payday, if they need it.

Integrations are available with over 200 applications through Paycor's Marketplace, including tools for wage and salary verification, expense management, employee wellness, certified payroll, and FMLA. Key integrations to note include Emburse Certify, Equifax, GoCo, GoodHire, HireTech, Ignite, Instant Pay, My Enroll360, Payfactors, Sterling, Tapcheck, WorkforceHub, Zillion, and others.

Best all-in-one HCM software for small businesses

  • Free demo available
  • From $8/user/month
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Rating: 4.8/5

Rippling is a modern HCM solution that's built to tackle new hires, deductions, time tracking, PTO requests, custom reports, and employee changes. It also offers advanced payroll management features, plus operational workflows, applicant tracking, and even some IT features like device and IT inventory management.

Why I picked Rippling: Their software stands out because they built app and device management (basic IT) into their HR platform, which is appropriate for the modern, online, all-digital workforce. You can remotely manage and protect employees’ devices (laptops, smartphones, tablets) and easily manage workforce apps like Google Workspace, Slack, and Office 365. Rippling is also competitively priced considering its wide range of features, making them a great option for smaller businesses with a tight budget.

Rippling Standout Features & Integrations:

Standout features for Rippling include their payroll management functionalities such as their automatic tax filing (it calculates and files your federal/provincial taxes, factoring in when employees move) and robust features that are helpful for pay compliance in a large workforce, such as automatic minimum wage enforcement, overtime enforcement, and leave enforcement.

Integrations are available with Google Workspace, Typeform, Databricks, BrightHire, Atlassian, Google Workspace, Slack, Checkr, Zoom, GitHub, Asana, 1Password, Zendesk, Dropbox, Sage Intacct, Netsuite, Microsoft 365, QuickBooks, DocuSign, Upwork, LinkedIn, and dozens more.

Best HCM software for construction companies

  • Free demo available
  • Pricing upon request
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Rating: 3.9/5

Arcoro is a human capital management software that's designed to help businesses manage their construction workforce more effectively. It's a comprehensive tool that covers everything from recruitment and onboarding to performance management and succession planning.

Why I picked Arcoro: Arcoro is a powerful and specialized HR software designed exclusively for construction companies, providing efficient management of diverse HR functions within the industry. Arcoro's construction-focused HRMS includes modules for tracking certifications, licenses, and safety training, guaranteeing that workers meet project requirements and remain compliant.

Arcoro also offers additional tools to automate essential processes like recruitment, onboarding, and employee record management, ensuring seamless workflows and compliance with industry-specific regulations.

Arcoro Standout Features and Integrations:

Arcoro excels in handling succession planning by offering comprehensive features that enable organizations to identify and develop potential successors for key roles within the company. It provides tools for talent assessment, competency mapping, and performance evaluation, allowing businesses to identify high-potential employees and create development plans tailored to their needs. Arcoro's succession planning capabilities also facilitate the creation of talent pools, tracking employee readiness and potential for advancement, while offering visibility into skills gaps and training requirements.

Integrations include Acumatica, Procore, Quickbooks, Sage, Viewpoint, and Foundation Software. They add that they can connect with other onboarding, core HR, and time-tracking apps but they don't list which ones by name. 

Best HCM software for workforce management in safety-sensitive industries

  • Free demo available
  • From $13/user/month for a minimum of 1000 employees
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Rating: 4.3/5

Chances are, you've probably heard of Oracle, as they are a big name in the HR software business. Oracle HCM Cloud is their all-in-one HR solution to engage your workforce and optimize your HR operations. It includes a wide range of features, including workforce modeling, an HR help desk, talent acquisition tools, and time-saving integrations between time-off data and payroll.

Why I picked Oracle HCM Cloud: Their HCM platform is well-suited for safety-sensitive industries due to it's integrated workforce health & safety (H&S) monitoring capabilities. Key features within its H&S module include incident reporting and incident management, workplace protection information, incident alerts for HR and other key stakeholders, and a safety data dashboard that tracks key performance indicators regarding safety objectives. The dashboard gives teams a summary of safety trends or patterns that may be developing to help teams take action quickly.

Oracle HCM Cloud Standout Features and Integrations:

Other standout features include assets like self-service compensation charts for employees, profitability and cost management dashboards, and lots of scheduling capabilities (static schedules, rotas, holiday calendars, and split or dynamic shifts, etc.). In addition, Oracle's Mobile Workforce Management (MWM) app is a highly functional, fully-featured smartphone app companion.

Integrations are available through Oracle Integration and Oracle SOA Suite, which can integrate any SaaS or on-premise HCM application. In addition to application adapters, Oracle offers many other integration options including technology adapters for REST, SOAP, LDAP, FTP, and file-based access. Thus, they scored highly in the Integrations section of the evaluation.

Best HCM software to simplify customized onboarding

  • Free demo available
  • From $8/employee/month + a $49 base fee/month
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Rating: 4.8/5

Eddy is an all-in-one HR Suite built for local businesses that streamlines tedious HR processes and improves the employee experience. With Eddy, businesses can hire, onboard, manage, and pay employees with one easy-to-use software, which has grown in popularity due to its focus on supporting businesses with deskless workers and its highly-rated customer service.

Why I picked Eddy: Their simple, yet robust onboarding process makes the transition from candidate to new hire easy to manage. You can easily communicate important information to your new hires like start date, starting pay, who their manager is, and what they should wear on their first day to work. You can also create customizable “New Hire Packets” that include an onboarding agenda, and the other necessary documents employees need to sign, which can be completed easily from mobile devices too.

All documents can be signed electronically, plus you can assign specific due dates to paperwork and tasks, and company admins will receive updates regarding the new hire’s progress. Eddy's onboarding also helps your team stay aligned by assigning internal team tasks to make sure the new hire has a desk, laptop, or other necessary essentials.

Eddy Standout Features and Integrations:

A core function of Eddy is people management—users can access company directories and store important employee documents, add notes on employee performance, and track training and certifications in employee profiles. You can also create custom paid time-off (PTO) policies and approve or deny requests; tap into their time tracking tool, which allows employees to easily clock-in and clock-out; and navigate payroll processes using Eddy’s in-house, full-service system that includes support for multiple pay periods and end-of-year W-2 preparation, filing, and distribution.

Other key features include job posting management, tracking incoming candidates, and a full-scale applicant tracking system (ATS).

Integrations are available with Indeed, Glassdoor, and SynergySuite.

Best HCM system for employee engagement and internal knowledge management

  • Free demo available
  • From $5/user/month
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Rating: 4.4/5

eXo Platform is an all-in-one digital workplace solution that helps you connect, align, and engage your teams around a single interface. It is designed to fit the needs of enterprises of all sizes and industries that are looking to improve the company and peer-to-peer communication, boost collaboration, and manage company knowledge.

Why I picked eXo Platform: Their software has a rich set of features to improve the working experience, including enterprise social networking features such as user profiles, activity streams, and more. Users can easily navigate through the platform and interact with their peers through a built-in chat application and the ability to like, comment on, and share various pieces of content. They also offer built-in add-ons such as an eXo Wallet, gamification, kudos, chat, and more.

eXo Platform Standout Features and Integrations:

Features include collaborative groups where users can communicate, collaborate on projects, and easily find what they're looking for. Plus, their system also includes document management features that allow users to share content easily through drag-and-drop, organize content in rich document libraries, and share information with the click of a button in the activity stream or the chat application.

Integrations are available with third-party applications including Salesforce, Microsoft Office, and Google Suite.

Best HCM software for advanced people analytics

  • Free demo available
  • From $10/user/month
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Rating: 4.4/5

Over 10 years, the Sage Business Cloud People system has grown into a respected and progressive company operating in the HR management software sector with a full suite of people analytics tools.

Why I picked Sage People: Sage People excels in quick implementation, out-of-the-box automations, and streamlined and flexible reporting features. Their HCM platform is also the #1 rated HR and People management system according to Salesforce.

Sage People Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features for Sage HR includes customizable dashboards to analyze key metrics like attraction, retention, hiring trends, and any other HR metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs) that matter for your organization. Their analytics also include easy-to-digest visualizations such as charts, tables and other graphics like doughnut, pie, and radar charts. Additionally, if you check out their workforce engagement tools, you are bound to find something you love.

Integrations are available with Salesforce, ADP, activpayroll, Brain Payroll, TalentLMS, OwnBackup, Broadbean, Docusign, and Kimble.

Best HCM software for user experience and user interface design

  • Free demo available
  • Pricing upon request
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Rating: 4/5

Workday is a human capital management (HCM) system with a broad suite of feature that cover finance, human resources, and capital management planning. Designed for enterprise-level organizations, the software uses machine learning to understand people's current skills, then builds talent management programs to develop them.

Why I picked Workday HCM: Their design team absolutely nailed the user interface with a clean, modern, and intuitive layout on both the web browser version and the mobile app. This scored them favorably in the UI category of the evaluation criteria. Their HCM suite also has a full-feature mobile app that syncs data in real-time, making it easy to access information from anywhere.

Workday HCM Standout Features and Integrations:

Their talent development suite is also more advanced than many other systems and includes tools for learning & development, performance management, and a skills cloud of 55,000+ skills that uses machine learning to run skill gap analyses and identify opportunities for internal mobility.

Other advanced features include customizable process flows with configurable conditional logic settings, and workforce planning and analysis tools that help with strategic growth and succession planning, including “what if” scenarios and flexible organizational charting tools. In addition, Workday includes intelligent automation for key HR and business processes that eliminates manual tasks.

Integrations are available with 600+ commonly used tools. On the off chance that your programs of choice aren’t already on their list, additional software integrations are available through their custom API.

Best HCM software for managing employee benefits

  • 30-day free trial
  • From $4/month/employee
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Rating: 4.4/5

UZIO HRIS solution is an all-in-one platform that’s best for small and medium-sized businesses. It covers employee onboarding features, HR automation, and time-off tracking, and allows for easy PTO approvals by scheduling managers.

Why I picked UZIO: UZIO prides itself on usability and user experience—and it shows. They turn complex HR systems like payroll and benefits into clean, well-organized menus with an intuitive design that lends itself well to employee self-service needs. Onboarding processes and open benefits enrollment are particularly useful with the potential to be big crowd-pleasers in the now-not-later info economy.

UZIO Standout Features and Integrations:

On top of expected payroll functionality, UZIO can also help HR managers build benefits plans and quotes, plus track employee enrollment. UZIO’s cloud-based payroll system can even track affordable care act (ACA) compliance and can adapt to changing tax laws. UZIO ensures federal and state law compliance and accounts for any year-over-year changes in this regard. UZIO lets you pick and choose what tool you need so you only pay for what you actually use.

UZIO’s all-in-one package is probably the most bang for your buck ($10/month/employee + $30/month flat rate) and it encompasses all your human capital management basics: onboarding, offboarding, benefits syncing, payroll tax management, garnishments, time tracking, and ACA compliance.

One thing to note is that UZIO HRIS is only available for use within the US.

Integration details are currently not available.

The 10 Best HCM Software Systems Comparison Chart

Here’s a comparison chart that summarizes basic details about each of my top HCM software selections. You can view pricing details and the availability of free trials or demos side-by-side to help you find the best HCM software solution for your budget and business needs.

Tools Price
Deel Flat rate user pricing
Paycor From $5/employee/month + $99/month base fee
Rippling From $8/user/month
Arcoro Pricing upon request
Oracle HCM Cloud From $13/user/month for a minimum of 1000 employees
Eddy From $8/employee/month + a $49 base fee/month
eXo Platform From $5/user/month
Sage People From $10/user/month
Workday Pricing upon request
UZIO From $4/month/employee
Preview Image - <h2 class="c-block__title b-summary-table__title c-listicle__title h3" > Compare Software Specs Side by Side</h2>

Compare Software Specs Side by Side

Use our comparison chart to review and evaluate software specs side-by-side.

Compare Software

Other Human Capital Management Solutions To Try

Here are a few more options that didn’t make the best HCM software list. If you need additional suggestions for handy HCM software, check these out:

  1. SAP SuccessFactors

    Best HCM software company for their scalability of add-ons

  2. SyncHR

    Best HCM software for customizing human resource management processes

  3. Viventium

    Best HCM software for health services professionals

  4. PeopleGuru

    Best HCM system for mid-market, US-based organizations

  5. Trakstar

    Best for customizable performance management

  6. ADP Workforce Now

    Best HCM software for integrating with other HR software systems

  7. BambooHR

    Best HCM software for simplifying your employee lifecycle and building company culture

  8. Zoho Recruit

    Best HCM software for a combined talent acquisition and application tracking system

  9. Ceridian Dayforce

    Best cloud-based human capital management software for HR service delivery

  10. HoneybeeBased

    Best HCM software for retail or hospitality-based businesses

Selection Criteria for HCM Software

I'm happy to explain my software selection process if you'd like to know how I created this list.

I started out by creating a long list of the top-ranking HCM systems based on user ratings and market share data. I then assessed each HCM vendor's website in fine detail to ensure their software covered all the basic features and modules an HR department would need.

Next, I dug into the core functionalities and key features below to sharpen my selections even further. Using the details below as a standardized framework for comparison allowed me to really analyze how each system compared to the others.

I also drew on my nine years of previous experience using an HCM software solution on a daily basis. And, for the record, that experience included the entire software implementation and user onboarding process as well.

Core Functionality

To assess the core functionalities of each HCM system, I asked myself the following questions:

  • User Interface (UI): Is it clean and attractive? Are the modules and menus easy to navigate? How does the UI for the employee self-service portion look?
  • Usability: Is it user-friendly, and easy to learn and master? What is the user experience like? Does the company offer good tech support, user support, tutorials, and training?
  • Software Integrations: Is it easy to connect with other HR systems? Are there any pre-built software integrations or an API to support custom tool connections?
  • Value for Price: How appropriate is the price for the features, capabilities, and use case? Is pricing clear, transparent, and flexible? Do they offer a freemium plan, a free trial, or a free demo?

Key Features

Here's a summary of the core features you can expect to find within the best HCM systems:

  • Robust Employee Profiles - The crux of every HCM system is the data, so you want a system with robust employee records that include fields you can customize for your own unique business needs. Any changes to your employee data should also populate across all system modules in real-time, so everyone on your HR team is always accessing up-to-date information.
  • Advanced Payroll Management Features – The best systems can handle payroll processing, including automated deductions and compliance monitoring. More advanced systems can even handle global payroll across multiple currencies for international workforces too.
  • Benefits Management - An integrated module for benefits administration is helpful since it will sync monthly health plan charges directly to payroll. This helps reduce manual data entry and eliminates the possibility of errors.
  • Recruitment & Onboarding – This includes tools to help attract new candidates, and automated workflows to get them up-to-speed on their new position once they start.  
  • Performance & Evaluation – Full-feature HCM systems should offer modern performance management features in addition to standard performance reviews. This includes features like 360-degree performance reviews, continuous feedback, and tools for measuring employee morale, motivation, engagement, and productivity.
  • Analysis & Reporting – One of the biggest benefits of digital HR systems is the built-in reporting & analytics capabilities. HCM systems should include customizable reporting features that deliver actionable insights, making decision-making easier for all involved.
  • Employee Self-service – A good employee management system should allow employees to view and update their own employee information, as needed. This includes contact details, emergency contacts, shift schedules, pay stubs, and more.

While HCM software offers a comprehensive suite of tools for managing your workforce, specialized payroll software can provide more focused features for handling employee compensation

Human capital management looks a lot different than it did 5 years ago...or even 2 years ago, for that matter. And the priorities and objectives of HR departments will continue to evolve as we move forward. What I find really interesting is how HR software solutions strive to keep up with these changes, offering new and innovative features, functionalities, and frameworks to address key challenges as they emerge.

Here are some of the trends I'm seeing in HCM solutions, and anticipate seeing more of in the future:

AI-Driven Talent Acquisition

Artificial Intelligence (AI) in talent acquisition software is revolutionizing the hiring process. AI algorithms can:

  • Scan resumes
  • Predict candidate success
  • Assist in reducing unconscious bias in hiring

By leveraging AI, companies can more effectively identify and attract the right candidates, addressing the critical challenge of finding top talent. This trend is significant for Heads of HR and recruitment specialists who are constantly striving to enhance their talent acquisition strategies.

Employee Wellness and Engagement Tools

Taking care of employees is pivotal in addressing retention and performance issues by fostering a supportive and engaging work culture. As such, employee wellness platforms are gaining traction, particularly in hybrid and remote work environments.

These platforms offer tools for mental health support, engagement surveys, and wellness tracking. Many HCMs are beginning to offer such tools directly within the software, or integrations with leading providers to keep your systems connected.

Advanced Analytics

Advanced analytics tools in HCM software help you monitor all kinds of metrics related to your workforce. You can track core people metrics like:

  • Employee engagement levels
  • Alignment on company strategy
  • Time spent on various tasks

But more and more, you can also cross-reference these types of metrics and filter various employee segments. This is really helpful to spot differences in hybrid workforces, across teams or departments, and among specific employee demographics.

Keeping up with emerging HR software trends not only helps you take advantage of the latest technologies, but stay ahead of the curve. The better equipped you are to manage your workforce, the better equipped you'll be to provide an exceptional employee experience—one that sparks high performance, engagement, talent development, and staff retention.

HCM Software: FAQ

Do you have general questions about human capital management and how it works? These answers to frequently asked questions are a good place to start:

What is HCM?

Human capital management refers to the collection of organizational practices related to the acquisition, management, and development of the human workforce (a.k.a., human capital) within an organization.

These practices include HR functions such as talent acquisition, workforce planning, workforce management, and workforce optimization.

The main goal of HCM practices are to optimize and maximize the value of an organization’s human capital to maintain a competitive advantage in the market.

Interested in learning more? Pop over to What is Human Capital Management & Why is it Important for more details.

What does HCM software do?

HCM software acts like a central repository for all of your employee data, with integrated modules that reduce the burden of data entry for HR teams.

Strategic features you can expect to find within HCM systems include talent acquisition & management tools, career development tools, competency mapping & skill development, and succession planning.

For more details on this, see HRIS vs HCM Systems: The 5-Point Guide You Need to Make the Best Choice.

What's the difference between an HRIS, HCM and HRMS?

HCM systems are more advanced than human resources information systems (HRIS systems) because they generally emphasize a strategic approach to managing employees, whereas HRIS systems usually offer fewer strategic tools.

The main difference between HCM and HRM is that HCM systems are more focused on employee management. This includes employee performance, onboarding, analytics, position control, and absence management along with other HR services.

HRM includes all HRIS software and HCM systems but focuses largely on HR processes such as payroll processing and compensation management, benefits administration, and time and labor management.

At the end of the day though, it doesn’t really matter if you’re using an HCM, HRM, or HRIS system as long as it satisfies all of your business needs. Our article on How to Make a Business Case for HR Software can help you assess your needs so you can make the best software investment.

Other Resources for Managing Your Human Capital

Looking for some other ways you can manage your human capital like a pro? Here are some links to other types of top-rated software to save you some time:

What Do You Think About This HCM Software?

Are there any human capital management tools that you think we have missed but should be on this list? Let us know in the comments. And subscribe to the People Managing People newsletter for more tools and tips!

By Kim Behnke

Kim Behnke is an HR Tool Expert & Writer for People Managing People. She draws on her 9 years of human resources experience and her keen eye for systematic processes to support her analyses of the top HR tools on the market. She is passionate about maximizing efficiencies and streamlining workflows to ensure internal systems run smoothly. Kim's HR experience includes recruitment, onboarding, performance management, training and development, policy development and enforcement, and HR analytics. She also has degrees in psychology, writing, publishing, and technical communication, and recently completed a Certified Digital HR Specialist program through the Academy to Innovate HR. When away from her desk, she can usually be found outside tending to her ever-expanding garden.