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The Best HR Outsourcing Companies of 2023

Kaylyn McKenna
Contributing Writer
| Updated
Mar 13, 2023

This guide offers tips on how to choose an HR outsourcing company, as well as our best picks for the best HR outsourcing companies of 2023.

Best for Startups
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Dedicated HR support
Affordable plan options
Policy development tools
Best for Industry Expertise
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Industry-specific advisors
Expansive HR features
Expense reporting functionality
Best for Payroll
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Seamless payroll process
Contractor payments
24/7 customer support
Best for Benefits Administration
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Fortune-500-level benefits
Easy open enrollment
User-friendly self-service tools
Best for Midsize Businesses
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Serves midsize businesses
Large e-learning library
Strong compliance tools
This guide offers tips on how to choose an HR outsourcing company, as well as our best picks for the best HR outsourcing companies of 2023.

What is HR outsourcing?

HR outsourcing (HRO) is the process of hiring a third-party service to conduct human resources operations for your business, rather than employing an in-house HR team. HR outsourcing offers an exceptional level of expertise to manage your workforce and can cut costs by saving you money on salaries and benefits. However, using a third-party team means relying on their customer service department to ensure you have a full understanding of your business’ HR operations. Should you use an HRO service for your small business? Read more in our guide to HR outsourcing or check out our reviews below.

  • Your business can outsource any or all of its HR processes to a human resources outsourcing (HRO) service.
  • An HRO can save your company money you would otherwise spend on salaries and wages for HR personnel while introducing a heightened level of HR expertise to your company and employees.
  • HROs can help your business comply with several rules and regulations in various areas, including employment law, payroll, benefits management, recruiting, hiring, firing and more.
  • This best picks page is for business owners and decision-makers who are considering whether they should partner with an HR outsourcing firm to conduct some or all of their HR processes.

Small businesses can partner with HR outsourcing companies to help alleviate the complexity and burden of managing various HR administrative processes. HROs have expertise in labor laws, employee benefits and compensation management, hiring and onboarding, employee tracking, and retirement planning. They can be a smart way to help manage your HR department.

Our best picks and buyer’s guide will help you determine what to look for in an HRO service and which one is right for you. If you’re considering outsourcing your HR functions, read on to learn more about the leading HRO services out there today and how they work.

Find the Right HRO Service for Your Business

Fill out this questionnaire to find vendors that meet your needs.
CompanyEditor’s ScoreBest Use CasePricingEmployee minimumMobile AppCustomer Service
Bambee87/100Best for StartupsStarts at $99 per month0NoPhone, email, live chat, dedicated specialists
TriNet92/100Best for Industry ExpertiseCustom pricing5YesPhone, email, live chat, dedicated specialists
Paychex86/100Best for PayrollCustom pricing1YesPhone, email, live chat, dedicated specialists
Insperity91/100Best for Midsized BusinessesCustom pricing5YesPhone, email, live chat, dedicated specialists
ADP91/100Best for Benefits AdministrationCustom pricing1YesPhone, email, live chat, dedicated specialists
Zenefits95/100Best for Ease of UseStarts at $8 per employee per month5YesPhone, email, live chat
Bamboo HR94/100Best for Talent AcquisitionCustom pricing1YesPhone, email, live chat


Bambee HR Outsourcing: Best for Startups

Bambee offers knowledgeable HR advice for new businesses.
Bambee can help you craft your internal HR policies to fit how you run your business.
Bambee is not well-suited for larger companies or those that need benefits administration support.
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For the quality of service it offers, Bambee’s low rates and customer support make it tough to beat for very small businesses. The cost of Bambee’s service is as low as $99 per month for businesses just starting out with 0 employees. Many HROs don’t accommodate businesses with fewer than five employees, but Bambee offers affordable plans with dedicated support to guide startup owners. Keep in mind that the costs do rise as your business grows.

Editor’s Score: 87/100

For startups that are growing rapidly, Bambee stays on top of ongoing legal compliance issues and updates. Bambee also provides HR support, employee handbook updates, assistance with personnel management tracking and reporting, and in-depth audits of your team and business. Bambee subscribers are matched with a dedicated HR manager that can answer questions as they arise, which we found especially useful for start-up founders that need help navigating HR challenges as the start-up grows.

Bambee can also help you secure various types of insurance for your business. General liability and workers’ compensation are a great start, but they may not give your business all the protection needed for the broader set of possible business-related exposures. Bambee is the only HRO provider we’ve seen that offers supplemental insurance to its clients.

Read our full review of Bambee HRO services.

TriNet HR Outsourcing: Best for Industry Expertise

TriNet has expert teams that specialize in benefits, payroll and expense reporting.
TriNet also has a network of industry specialists to provide industry-specific expertise based on the space in which you operate.
TriNet’s customer service quality has mixed reviews.
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For many small business owners, HR can be a challenging world to navigate. If you outsource your HR services to TriNet, expect to receive actionable advice, feedback and support from a team of HR experts including experts in your specific industry.

Editor’s Score: 92/100

With a strong customer support team that is available via mobile texting (with real-time instant messaging) and 24/7 live support, TriNet’s customer service is frequently available. Besides answering your HR questions, TriNet experts can offer strategic guidance on topics such as how to set compensation structures for your company. In addition to providing strong customer service and general HR support, TriNet customers can also access support from industry experts to navigate complex industry regulations or HR concerns.

TriNet offers a variety of HR functions like recruitment, payroll, risk mitigation and employee benefits. If you take advantage of TriNet’s Enrich product line, you’ll be able to access several tax-optimized reimbursements for benefits like education, medical care, and adoption process fees. These inclusive features are helpful for managing your workforce.

Read our full review of TriNet HRO services.

Paychex HR Outsourcing: Best for Payroll

Paychex provides a variety of payroll tools, including direct deposit, off-cycle payments and contractor payments.
Paychex's team of experts actively monitor and report on new employment laws and regulatory changes.
Customer support is sometimes slow to respond to phone calls and emails.
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Paychex is a leading provider in the HR space, with established and well-respected solutions. The company offers affordable HRO services for small businesses alongside one of the best payroll processing solutions we reviewed. Paychex offers a seamless payroll processing experience on the employer side, and easy-to-navigate self-service tools for employees that need to enter their time or view their paystubs.

Editor’s Score: 86/100

Paychex also offers one of the easiest processes of transitioning to an HRO from a professional employer organization (PEO) service that we found in our review. Many businesses use a PEO service at first, but transition to an HRO as they grow. The transition is usually bumpy, but with Paychex, it can be smooth and seamless. To further assist customers, Paychex offers 24/7 live support within the U.S. Customers can discuss their payroll, HR and other related business or personnel questions with a Paychex expert.

An additional benefit of using Paychex is that its Paychex Flex solution has advanced reporting features you may not get with other HROs, like diversity and equal pay reporting, general ledger live reporting and enhanced live report functionalities. If you have a Clover point-of-sale system or if you have a loan through Biz2Credit, Paychex also offers streamlined integration capabilities with these two companies.

Read our full review of Paychex HRO services.

ADP HR Outsourcing: Best for Benefits Administration

Employees and administrators have a lot of control over their benefits.
ADP is an experienced, proven leader in the HRO industry. Businesses can feel confident about the quality of the services that ADP offers.
ADP does not list pricing online. You must contact a representative for a quote.
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Many HROs assist companies with benefits administration, but ADP’s TotalSource stands out from the crowd. It offers several plans, including custom ones that can meet the needs of your employees. In addition to their best-in-class benefits administration, ADP offers a complete HR personnel management system, payroll tools, and coverage in more than 26 countries. All of these features are included in a platform that helps small and large businesses use their time and resources more efficiently while better serving their workers.

Editor’s Score: 91/100

With its API-driven technology, ADP can speed up your benefits administration process and improve accuracy by automatically syncing data between the platform and benefit carriers. Since it updates in real time, employees can seamlessly configure their benefits and view live updates as they make changes. ADP’s ability to help organizations of any size manage complex benefit offerings, along with its tried-and-true services and platform, make it one of the most comprehensive HROs on our list.


Insperity HR Outsourcing: Best for Midsize Businesses

Insperity offers a comprehensive selection of HRO services, including extensive health benefit administration tools.
Insperity's applicant-tracking tool is particularly easy to use, making it easier to recruit top talent.
Pricing plans and determining whether to use Insperity’s PEO or HRO services can be confusing.
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Midsize businesses manage a lot of complexity. Insperity offers specialized experts to help companies navigate complex issues relating to time and attendance, payroll, performance management, recruitment and onboarding, employee safety, and benefits and compensation. Insperity also assigns its customers with a dedicated account representative who can answer your questions and, for more complex questions and issues, serve as a liaison to route queries to the appropriate expert.

Editor’s Score: 91/100

Small businesses with plans to expand their workforce can also rest assured that transitioning from Insperity’s PEO service to its HRO service is simple. This can offer growing businesses reassurance that they won’t run into the common challenges that come with migrating from one platform to a completely new one.

Read our full review of Insperity HRO services.

BambooHR HR Outsourcing: Best for Talent Acquisition

BambooHR's mobile app is one of the best. Managers can easily support employees anywhere and at any time.
The job-posting tool allows companies to easily jump-start their recruiting efforts.
BambooHR has difficulty calculating wages for employees that work at multiple pay rates, such as employees that help in different departments or on shifts with pay differentials.

BambooHR is a comprehensive HR platform that includes many of the services and tools needed to manage your workforce, such as recruiting, document management, time-off management, approvals and workflows, and hiring and onboarding solutions. You can also add on services for payroll, time tracking and performance management. BambooHR offers benefits administration as an add-on service as well. BambooHR’s suite of add-on functions is great for SMBs to create a tailored HR solution. Not only does BambooHR offer a sleek and modern interactive platform, but it operates in more than 70 countries.

Editor’s Score: 94/100

BambooHR comes with exceptional talent acquisition tools that help employers locate top talent and then track candidates as they progress through the hiring process. With features like the Candidate Source Report, businesses can see a visual breakdown of where and why candidates are dropping off in the recruitment process — a valuable insight that can enhance your scaling process. Additionally, BambooHR helps employers craft a compensation package and workplace policies that make a company more attractive to candidates.


Zenefits HR Outsourcing: Best for Ease of Use

Zenefits significantly streamlines the hiring and onboarding process.
Customer service and tech support are also among Zenefits’ strong suits.
The choices of 401(k) providers offered through the HRO platform are limited.

Zenefits, a TriNet company, has a user-friendly platform that makes reviewing the workforce easy for administrators and managers. It also offers a mobile-friendly version of the software, so you can check in on your team even when you’re on the go. Not only do payroll, timecard management and PTO management work seamlessly on mobile devices, the Zenefits app is easy to navigate — something that cannot be said for many HRO mobile apps.

Editor’s Score: 95/100

Zenefits offers one of the lowest learning curves for both HR personnel and new employees. For starters, Zenefits Recruiting, powered by JazzHR, lets employers easily source and hire workers from one centralized platform, and the The employee onboarding experience is simple to initiate from the employer side. Zenefits also provides a positive onboarding experience for employees, who can enter their information and fill out their onboarding paperwork with Zenefits’ easy-to-follow onboarding process. Employees can even complete onboarding tasks from their phones.

The dashboard is also laid out in a clear format that helps new users quickly orient themselves to all the different feature hubs within Zenefits, such as health benefits, time off, payroll, FSA benefits, and a helpful org chart feature that can help new hires get to know their team. If you’re interested in viewing workforce analytics, Zenefits People Analytics can also be easily navigated. For these reasons, we’ve selected Zenefits as our top choice for ease of use.

Read our full review of Zenefits HRO services.

HRO Costs

The cost of HRO services varies widely. Most providers charge for their services based on one of two models: by the individual service provided or a by subscription plan that comprises a bundle of features and/or services.

For small to midsize businesses, base costs typically range from $8 to $50 per employee per month. Out of the services that we reviewed, Zenefits offered the lowest per-employee price, with plans starting as low as $8 per employee. Many of the HROs we reviewed offer custom pricing at all levels, so pricing depends on your service selections and company size.

Consider your business’ needs before purchasing a bundled subscription plan — you don’t want to pay for services you don’t need.

Other Add-on Costs

If you need what many HRO providers consider add-on services, plan on your monthly costs increasing. Costs are also influenced by the size of your business, whether or not you have multiple locations, and the complexity of your organization. Examples of add-ons include time-tracking, recruiting services and advanced reporting features. Pay close attention to add-ons when comparing plans, because what one vendor considers an add-on may be a standard part of another HRO vendor’s basic service bundle.

Implementation Fees

Besides service-related costs, you may see one-time implementation fees. These fees can range anywhere from $200 to $3,000. Some HROs don’t charge any setup or implementation fees, so consider these fees when shopping around and factor them into your cost comparisons between HRO providers.

HR Outsourcing Features

Dedicated HR supportOne of the main advantages of working with an HR outsourcing company is the dedicated support. Most HROs provides you with a dedicated contact or team that can help you navigate HR questions.
Payroll processingHROs give you the tools that you need to process payroll accurately and efficiently.
Compliance assistanceHROs can help you navigate complex compliance issues and stay up to date on applicable employment laws.
Benefits administrationNot all HROs offer benefits enrollment and administration, but many can help you provide benefits like health insurance to your staff.

Dedicated HR Support

Running a business isn’t easy, and you’ll inevitably encounter issues that require HR services. That’s what your HRO’s dedicated support team is there for. The exact support level and options vary. Some HROs provide a dedicated HR manager, others provide industry-specific support, and some provide a whole team of experts in different areas of HR. For smaller businesses, a dedicated account manager may be enough, but for larger more complex businesses an expert team or specialized industry knowledge could be useful.

Payroll Processing

You don’t want to make any mistakes when it comes to your employee’s payments or payroll taxes. HROs typically provide a user-friendly payroll platform that can help you manage your salaries and wages. This platform can also often automatically calculate applicable local, state and federal payroll taxes and benefits deductions so that you’re always withholding the right amount from your employees’ paychecks. Some HROs also provide payroll specialists that can offer you guidance when it comes to managing your business’ payroll.


If you’re looking for one of the best payroll software providers that offers a great user experience without a steep learning curve, consider our Rippling payroll review.

Compliance Assistance

HROs typically support compliance in a number of ways. They tend to have automated tools to improve payroll compliance and some HROs help businesses develop compliant company policies or provide online compliance training services. The dedicated HRO support team often can advise on specific compliance issues as well to help businesses manage risk and legal compliance for your business. Many business owners turn to their HRO for advice with processes like terminations that could have negative compliance or legal consequences if processed incorrectly.

Benefits Administration

Offering employee benefits is an important but sometimes complicated part of being an employer. There is a lot of variation on what an HRO will do for you when it comes to benefits, so pay special attention to the benefits tools while you’re shopping around. Most HROs will integrate with different benefits providers so that employees can complete their enrollment and check in on their benefits information in a centralized platform. If you already have a preferred vendor, inquire about available integrations when choosing an HRO. Some HROs can also help you choose benefits providers, handle ACA compliance, or otherwise support your benefits administration needs.

Did You Know?

We’ve reviewed some of the best employee retirement benefits plans available. If you’re looking for benefits packages to offer your employees, check out our best picks page.

HRO Plan Types

When you’re assessing, researching and comparing features and costs from one HRO to the next, there can be a lot to keep in mind. Not only are there dozens of HROs to choose from, but when you add in the different services and products each offers, there’s a lot to compare.

Below are three hypothetical yet representative examples of subscription plans you might find when investigating HRO providers. Give careful thought and analysis to the exact features you need — and which you can do without — when determining which service level is appropriate for your business.

Service Level No. 1: The Basics

Regardless of the size of your company, when you partner with a third-party HRO, these are some of the core services that HROs usually offer:

  • Payroll processing
  • Tax preparation (including Form 990 and Form 5500 related reporting)
  • 401(k) retirement planning (if your company offers that benefit)
  • An HRIS platform, with some degree of employee self-service functionality

Service Level No. 2: Expanded Service

Mid-range plans are likely to offer the services and features in the previous tier, plus the following:

  • Automated time and attendance and paid time off (PTO) tracking
  • Unemployment insurance case management
  • COBRA, flexible spending accounts (FSA), health savings accounts (HSA) and eligibility tracking
  • Employee recordkeeping, retention and reporting
  • Employee benefits administration, including open enrollment and insurance renewals
  • HR compliance management, including postings, handbook updates and communications
  • Job description and employee performance evaluation templates, and related supervisory training
  • Recruitment and interviewing support and automated applicant tracking systems
  • New employee orientations and onboarding/termination management

Service Level No. 3: Comprehensive Package

Top-tier plans generally include all of the services and features in the previous tiers, plus the following:

  • Insurance provider invoice reconciliation and payment processing
  • Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and various state-related medical and family leave-related claims management
  • Workers’ compensation claims management (which varies from state to state)
  • Legal guidance, coaching, and, at times, oversight on employee corrective actions

Different providers offer unique service levels. The above is intended only as a rough depiction of how a typical HRO service package might look. For specific pricing plans from HRO providers, read our reviews to learn more about the service plans they provide.


If you are a startup or very small business, consider starting with the basic service level or tier. That way, you’ll be able to see if the HRO provider you’ve chosen really works for your business. You can always add more services as your company grows.

Choosing an HRO

Selecting the right HRO does not have to be an overwhelming task. Aside from getting to know what services a provider offers (which can be difficult if all you are doing is visiting provider websites), you must assess its reputation for customer service and product customization.

Most HROs want your contact information before they share any useful information about their services and their costs.

We recommend that you take the following steps during your search process:

  1. Ask others within your industry. We highly recommend talking to other companies within your industry to see which HROs are held in high regard and which ones you should avoid.
  2. Check its background. Check references, credit ratings and industry reputation (customer reviews are a good place to start). Any HRO you partner with must be licensed, insured and bonded.
  3. Ask the HRO for a demonstration of its platform. Besides giving you a thorough demonstration of its platform, many HROs offer a free trial of their software.
  4. Find customer references. If you have selected an HRO provider that you are excited about, do not proceed further until it provides at least three customer references that you can contact to learn about their experiences with the HRO provider.

Customer references should meet the following criteria:

  • Within your industry
  • Roughly the same size as your company in terms of employee headcount
  • A customer of the HRO for at least two years
  1. Confirm best practices. Ensure that the HRO provider has documented and up-to-date processes, policies and systems. Inquire about how they remain current on best practices regarding employment, payroll, leave laws and other regulatory issues.
  2. Confirm the total slate of services and products. Chances are, your HR needs will evolve. You’ll want an HRO partner that meets both your current and future strategic needs. Ask yourself: If your business doubles in size in the next two years, will the HRO you’re considering still be a good partner?

Advantages of HROs

The advantages of a strong HRO partnership are many for small and midsize businesses. An HRO tracks, reviews and informs your business of changes to HR trends, laws and best practices. It also allows your team to focus on business operations instead of compliance.

A good HRO service provides the following benefits:

  • Frees up resources. The first thing many businesses realize when they hire an HRO is the available time that their in-house personnel get back. For small business owners who have been trying to manage HR functions themselves or with a small time, the ability to rededicate these resources to operations that drive return on investment is a powerful benefit.
  • Comprehensive HR services. Many new business owners (and their staff) are unfamiliar with employment laws and regulations. Many also know little about recruiting, hiring and retaining top talent. Working with an HRO not only shifts these tasks to a third-party, it places them in the hands of experienced professionals who know how to get them done in an efficient manner.
  • Expertise. Your HRO’s knowledge and HR practices are shaped by expertise and an ongoing study of the HR landscape. The best HROs are adaptable and are always on top of current and evolving HR trends and regulations.
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) training and development. Employee development and diversity training is an increasingly important focus area for businesses. A good HRO can provide training and development assistance that can help a small company effectively create a DE&I program that fosters employee engagement. Companies with more engaged employees are more productive, and HR plays a major role in employee engagement.
  • Employee handbook updates. Figuring out whether or not your company employee handbook is up to date can be a hassle. If you outsource this time-consuming task to an HRO, your handbook will always be up to date with current federal and state laws and regulations.
  • Recruitment and onboarding guidance. Not only are recruitment and onboarding labor intensive, but they are also easy to get wrong. Recruiting and hiring the wrong person is a costly mistake. Well-equipped HROs can help with these processes or, at the very least, provide templates, policy samples and guidance to get these all-important tasks right.
Key Takeaway

HROs free up your team’s time so you can focus on your business’ operations without neglecting any compliance issues or critical processes like payroll, employee development and internal policies.


Are HROs and PEOs the same thing?

No. HROs allow companies to maintain control over their employees, systems and access the administrative benefits through HR services third-party outsourcing. PEOs either directly manage or employ the client’s employees. In other cases, PEOs require access to employee data to automate various processes, such as payroll, benefits and time off.

Can I ask my HRO provider to fire an employee?

No, but a good HRO provider will coach you and offer suggestions about how to best proceed with employment actions such as termination, including when to involve legal counsel.

Can an HRO take care of my benefits management?

In many cases, yes. You will need to ask prospective HROs specific questions relating to benefits management, such as overall service offerings and open enrollment.

Can my HRO provider handle workers’ compensation claim management?

In some cases, HRO providers can partner with a customer to process and manage a workers’ compensation claim. This service differs from one HRO provider to the next and from state to state, where the workers’ compensation laws are set and governed.

Do HRO providers know all state employment laws within the U.S.? What about international laws?

Although the HRO providers we reviewed know all federal and state employment-related laws, not all HRO providers extend their expertise or services to international markets. When talking to an HRO provider, ask specific questions about your needs.

Can I cancel my HRO provider relationship if I do not like their service?

Most HROs require 30 days’ notice. However, the more services a business has assigned to their HRO provider, the longer the offboarding period should be. Winding down a partnership with an HRO should be a careful process to ensure continuity of your HR functions during the transition.

What to Expect in 2023

The state of the workplace has significantly changed in recent years, and it will continue to evolve throughout 2023. We expect the HR outsourcing industry to meet employers’ and employees’ new needs and expectations. Keeping up to date with labor laws, regulations and workplace trends can be challenging for small business owners, so we believe there will be a greater reliance on experienced HR outsourcing services to remain competitive and compliant.

As many workers permanently settle into a remote or hybrid workplace, we anticipate HROs to enhance their features to allow employees to take charge of their HR needs via digital platforms. Expect to see an increase in cloud-based platforms, self-service functionalities and flexible benefits administration.

Speaking of employee benefits, employees are switching gears when it comes to which benefits mean the most. Gone are the days of office lunches and ping pong tables – employees are prioritizing affordable health insurance, health and wellness benefits, and opportunities for career development and advancement. HROs must enhance their employee benefits and administration process to keep up with new demands and stay competitive.

The advancement of technology is influencing HROs as well. AI and automated processes are becoming the norm for some HR functions, and HROs are adapting. HROs have become a great source of relief to small businesses when it comes to maintaining legal compliance. HROs can help implement HR policies and monitor compliance through data analytics.

Kaylyn McKenna
Kaylyn McKenna
Contributing Writer
Kaylyn McKenna is a freelance writer specializing in business, tech, and leadership. She received her MA in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Touro University, and enjoys using her industrial psychology background to share management, HR, and organizational effectiveness tips with small business owners. She has covered topics related to business law, compliance, employee retention, company culture, and management strategies.
Image Credit: Antonio_Diaz / Getty Images
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