The best human resources (HR) software save businesses time and labor by consolidating HR processes into one sleek platform. Whether you’re a small business owner doing it alone or a big company with an HR team, the right software helps you: run payroll, track time and attendance, manage performance, recruit, onboard, administer benefits, and stay compliant. In this article, we’ve placed two top HR software picks — our Rippling review and our Gusto review — side by side so you can see how their features measure up.
Customizable plans start at $8 per person/month.
You can choose from multiple features.
You have to contact a sales rep for a quote.
Simple: $40 monthly base price, plus $6 per person/month.
Plus: $80 monthly base price, plus $12 per person/month.
Premium: Contact a sales rep for pricing.
Contractor Only: $35 monthly base price (waived for the first six months), plus $6 contractor/month.
Complete onboarding tasks from the dashboard in 90 seconds.
You can automate tasks like sending documents for employees to complete or sign.
Excellent tracking of job postings and candidates.
Easy onboarding with a task list, customizable tools and templates.
Employees can painlessly self-onboard.
Hiring tools, applicant tracking and integration setup require the Plus or Premium plan.
Run payroll in any state or country (USD or foreign currency) in 90 seconds.
Automatically calculate hours and deductions.
Prepare and file local, state and federal taxes.
Stay compliant with state, federal and international regulations.
All plans feature unlimited payroll cycles and Autopilot for automatic runs.
Pay contractors and employees from the same platform.
Time tracking and multistate payroll aren’t standard.
Ease of use
The platform is simple to navigate despite the extensive tools and 500+ integrations.
Single-sign on and admin controls make it easy to use and manage apps.
Access to useful reporting and insights.
Implementation takes two and a half weeks.
The straightforward dashboard allows you to quickly visualize all HR information.
Gusto supports almost 200 integrations.
Gusto Wallet helps employees manage their earnings.
Gusto can be up and running in two weeks or less.
A support person gets you started, then admins can access assistance by chat, email or Help Center articles.
There is no phone support and employees have to go to their in-company admin with issues.
Users can get support by phone, email, live chat or by scheduling a call back.
The Gusto Help Center has articles on platform use and troubleshooting.
Employees can enroll in over 4,000 benefits programs.
Admins manage all devices simply from the dashboard.
Time and attendance tools make things quick and easy for you and your employees.
The Learning Management Center provides compliance courses.
Gusto brokers help employees get access to over 3,500 benefit options.
You can manage employees and provide feedback directly from the dashboard.
Many additional features are only available with the Premium plan, although some can also be added on.
Rippling is our all-in-one HR software pick for small and midsize businesses looking to streamline the onboarding process and make use of customizable tools, features and external integrations. Rippling’s exceptional automations allow you to complete every onboarding task in a flash.
Companies with international employees will love Rippling’s global payroll that makes payments in local currencies a breeze.
Rippling’s user-friendly interface, customizable tools and integrations make HR simplified. Image source: Rippling
We think Rippling excels because of the features below:
Gusto is our choice for small businesses without much HR experience and businesses of any size looking for an affordable, straightforward, all-in-one solution. Companies that only hire independent contractors will love the Contractor-Only plan. For everyone else, Gusto offers three tiers of service, all with first-rate payroll capabilities.
Gusto is a comprehensive HR software platform, but it stands out for its flexible payroll features that take the heavy lifting out of tedious, complex tasks. We also love that it helps employees stay on top of hours worked and money earned.
Gusto’s platform makes it easy to stay on top of HR tasks. Image source: Gusto
We think these features set Gusto apart:
Rippling offers a highly customizable product so you can craft a practical solution without paying for unnecessary features. Plans start at $8 monthly per user, but you’ll need to contact a sales rep to see how much your custom plan will cost.
All users must purchase the Rippling Unity platform. From there, you can choose from an array of HR, IT and Finance features. Common HR options include US and global payroll, time and attendance, benefits administration, hiring tools, compliance courses, employee surveys, and PEO services.
We appreciate that Rippling offers tailor-made plans, but we would have liked to see more straightforward pricing and the ability to test-run the platform with a free trial.
Gusto offers four service plans, all of which include basic payroll processing and tax services. For additional functions, including time tracking and multistate payroll, you’ll have to skip the Simple plan. We especially like that Gusto offers a Contractor-Only plan for businesses that don’t hire full-time employees.
Here’s a breakdown of Gusto’s plans and pricing.
$40 per month, plus $6 per person/month
$80 per month, plus $12 per person/month
Contact a sales rep for pricing.
$35 per month*, plus $6 per contractor/month
*At the time of this review, Gusto waived the $35 fee for the first 6 months.
We like that Gusto charges on a monthly basis so you can scale up or down as your business evolves. Gusto also offers a ton of add-ons, like state tax registration, workers’ compensation, life or disability insurance, and retirement or college savings. Some standard features of the Premium plan are available as an add-on with lower-tier plans, which gives you more flexibility.
Gusto is our winner for pricing. We like that their prices are straightforward and that add-on options allow you to find a flexible solution.
If you want premium service for your business, you’ll have to contact both Gusto and Rippling for a price quote. Rippling offers a more customizable product, so you could find a better deal if you’re only looking for certain features and tools.
Onboard new employees in minutes and keep track of everything simply on the dashboard. Image source: Rippling
Rippling makes new employee onboarding lightning fast with its easy-to-use dashboard and highly automated features. In less than two minutes, you can send an offer letter, run a background check, E-verify, add new hires to payroll, enroll them in benefits programs, order and ship devices, and set up accounts with third-party integrations.
We love that Rippling automates the documentation process so the right forms, paperwork or manuals are sent based on a new hire’s position and location. Plus, they can fill out paperwork easily from their smartphone.
Rippling also lets you post jobs, screen candidates, set up interviews from the dashboard, and then seamlessly transfer that information into your system when you hire someone. Offboarding is also painless, as you can eliminate employees, transfer responsibilities, and take over or delete accounts with just a few clicks.
Gusto offers convenient task lists and customizable tools to help you enter new employees into the system quickly. You can use templates or create your own offer letters, run background checks, sign and store important documents, and automatically file new hire paperwork.
We loved that the platform allows employees to input their information to help speed up onboarding. It’s easy to create, manage or remove employees from email software like Google or Microsoft Office 365. But for managing other business accounts, like Slack and Zoom, you’ll need to opt for the Plus or Premium plan.
Gusto offers hiring tools like job postings and applicant tracking, but we were disappointed that these features were not included in the Simple plan.
Rippling is our clear choice for onboarding. The entire process can be completed in 90 seconds, faster than the competition. We especially love that setting up onboarding automations is foolproof, even without a dedicated HR person. But, it does take time, so it might not be worthwhile for businesses that only hire a few people a year.
HR software helps small businesses run complex processes like hiring and onboarding even without a dedicated HR person. As your business grows, hiring a full-time HR employee could make things run even smoother.
Rippling allows you to run speedy, accurate payroll with automated deduction calculations, payroll tax filing and compliance. We found the mobile app where employees can see pay stubs and request time off especially useful. We like that Rippling helps you speed things up with hundreds of workflow templates.
Rippling’s global payroll capabilities set it apart from its competitors, facilitating payments to employees and contractors in their local currency. The platform also includes built-in time and attendance tools plus global compliance automations.
Gusto stands out for its unlimited payroll cycles available with all plans. This offers flexibility in deciding payroll frequency, paying bonuses or reimbursements and correcting errors, features most competitors don’t offer.
Gusto’s payroll tools and automations are excellent and easy to use. The platform calculates and files taxes, helps with compliance regulations, and pays both employees and independent contractors. You can even run payroll cycles automatically with AutoPilot. We especially like that there’s a plan for businesses that only hire contractors. This plan allows unlimited payments across all 50 states, plus international payments for an additional cost.
Businesses hiring employees in multiple states should keep in mind that only the Plus and Premium plans allow for multistate payroll. We were disappointed that none of the plans allow for international employees and that time tracking is only available with the Plus and Premium plans.
Running payroll is as simple as a click with Gusto. Image source: Gusto
When it comes to payroll, Gusto beats the competition, thanks to its unlimited payroll cycles, foolproof automations, and ability to pay contractors and employees from the same platform.
We like that small businesses that only hire in one state can save money with the Simple plan, with the option to add on needed tools that don’t come standard. We love that the Contractor-Only plan takes the complexity out of payroll for businesses that don’t hire full-time employees.
The only downside is that Gusto doesn’t support international payments for employees. If you have a global company, Rippling is a better bet.
For a platform with so many customizable tools, Rippling is surprisingly easy to navigate. Admins can see deadlines, approval requests and other pertinent information all on the dashboard. A Quick Action Springboard allows users to effortlessly switch between tasks such as onboarding, payroll and running reports.
Users can access internal tools and over 500 external integrations with single sign-on, and administrators can control which employees get access to which apps.
Implementation takes about two and a half weeks. A sales agent will help you customize a solution, and from there, setup guides make getting everything up and running a walk in the park. Though it takes some time to set up custom workflows and automations, it will be worth it in the long run.
Gusto’s user-friendly dashboard makes it easy to keep an eye on tasks, approval requests and important celebrations, such as birthdays or work anniversaries. You’ll find a customized list of HR compliance, taxes, hiring and other recommendations based on your business profile. The platform also offers almost 200 external integrations.
The Gusto Wallet app allows employees to track their hours and manage earnings, plus it comes with an exclusive debit card. Image source: Gusto
We like the Gusto Wallet app for employees that helps them set financial goals, build savings, access a personal debit card, use budgeting tools, get spending insights, manage paychecks and track their time.
Setting up Gusto is simple and the platform will guide you through the process. It usually takes about two weeks to get Gusto operating, but companies with less complex HR and payroll needs won’t need as long.
Gusto and Rippling both offer foolproof platforms that anyone can navigate. If you’re looking for a solution with an abundance of features and a variety of integrations, Rippling is right for you. If you don’t need as many features and want to provide financial planning tools to your employees, we recommend Gusto.
Rippling provides a dedicated support person reachable by phone or email to help choose the right set of features and get the platform running. Once in use, your admins can get quick help through live chat and email. A Help Center offers extensive articles to help troubleshoot issues.
We like that you can sign up for support from certified HR professionals for an additional cost, but we would have liked to see phone support come standard. We were also disappointed that employees need to go to their in-company Rippling administrator for help.
Gusto users can access support via phone, email and live chat. We especially love that you can schedule a call back, which can save employees valuable time. Employees and admins also have access to the Gusto Help Center, which provides articles on how to best use the platform and solve any issues. Similar to Rippling, Gusto offers a premium level of customer service through a dedicated customer success manager.
We found that Gusto and Rippling offer prompt and thorough customer service. Gusto slightly beats out Rippling because it allows all users to speak to a customer support person by phone and doesn’t require an in-company point person.
Admins can manage company devices, including setting passwords, buying and shipping equipment, configuring encryption, assigning roles and remote wiping all from the dashboard.
Rippling’s benefits management capabilities are also effective. Auto-enroll new hires with a few clicks right from the dashboard. Rippling offers more than 4,000 benefit plans for medical, dental, vision, commuter, FSA/HSA, 401(k) and more. You can easily integrate your existing plans, too. Rippling provides brokers, but also allows you to bring in your own for free.
Rippling offers stellar time and attendance functions, including hundreds of templates, automations, notifications, reports and useful insights. Employees can quickly check in and keep track of hours worked right from their smartphones.
Rippling’s learning management tools help keep your employees informed and up to date with prebuilt courses and certifications for U.S. and global compliance.
Most features come exclusively with the Plus or Premium plans, and some options are only offered as add-ons for an additional cost.
Gusto offers benefits management support from brokers to help you choose from over 3,500 benefit options, including those for out-of-state employees. Add-ons exist for life and disability insurance, 401(k)s, college and retirement savings, workers’ compensation and commuter benefits. You can keep your broker with the Premium plan or for an additional fee.
Gusto also supports employee performance management directly from the dashboard with self-assessments, manager reviews, peer feedback and formal performance evaluation options. Track and review progress through straightforward reports. Integrations with performance management software are also available.
Although both platforms offer excellent features, Rippling stands out for the sheer number of options and the flexibility in integrating them into your plan. We love that you can get a tailor-made solution without having to pay extra for a rigid package with features you don’t want.
We recommend Rippling for its rapid automated features like onboarding. We recommend Gusto for its straightforward and flexible payroll function. Remember that HR goes beyond hiring, onboarding and paying staff. Read our article on the future of HR to best serve your employees.
Choose Rippling if any of the following are true:
Choose Gusto if any of the following are true:
Yes, Rippling syncs HR data from its platform to automatically calculate and file federal, state and local taxes.
As of March 2023, Rippling uses JPMorgan Chase to process payroll.
No, Gusto is a comprehensive HR platform that offers many features including excellent payroll capabilities.