Five small business HRMS to put on your selection shortlist

When people think of HRMS and HR automation, the picture is usually corporate and large-scale, with the software crunching thousands of employees worth of data. However, even the leanest operation can benefit from HR technology and in the ‘small business niche’ of the HRMS market there are some effective and popular systems. In purely alphabetical order, here are five of the best-known.


BambooHR is a well-established cloud platform designed with small and medium businesses in mind, especially those transitioning from paper systems to their first HR technology. As well as the employee database, Bamboo offers applicant tracking to help with recruitment, onboarding, performance management and payroll.

Users particularly praise the ease of moving from spreadsheets to Bamboo’s intuitive and easy layout and the convenience of the mobile app. Downsides seem hard to come by (a good sign!) and mostly seem to come from businesses at the larger end of the scale (500+).


Rated by the technology research consultancy, Gartner, Cezanne HR is another well-known name in cloud software circles. Features on offer include learning management, time and attendance, performance management, with optional extras, recruitment and compensation, all scalable to grow with you.

Recommended reading: find HRMS for you small business with our comprehensive HRMS vendor directory

Customers seem to enjoy Cezanne’s comprehensive range of features with the corollary that the system can be inflexible if you find the out-of-the-box version isn’t quite what you need. Another strong plus is the praise reserved for Cezanne’s aftersales help and support.

Compass HRM

Compass HRM offers a full set of outsourced services, including HR software support. As you might expect from a comprehensive package, features include database, time and attendance with real-time visibility (and supported by employee self-service), and payroll with full reporting capabilities.

For some reason user reviews of Compass are not so easily found, but those that are praise how easy it is to outsource people management functions to Compass. Especially praised is that Compass’s software is designed from the ground up as a single unified multi-functional application, and not a selection of different features that have been integrated.

Kronos Workforce Ready

Kronos offers to boost your productivity, reduce your costs, and ensure your legislative compliance. To achieve all this, the Workforce Ready platform includes recruiting, onboarding, performance management, compensation planning, time and attendance, scheduling, absence management, and payroll.

Users particularly praise Kronos’s capacity for dealing with complex workforces, e.g. those including a large proportion of contractors, who are not ‘active’ all the time. Also, Kronos’s clients have found the system to be highly customizable for specific business requirements. For some, not all the processes are intuitive and it’s recommended to spend some quality on learning the system in order to get the best from it.


OrangeHRM is probably the longest-running open source HRMS on the market, with records/information management, time and attendance, leave management, recruitment, performance, and employee self-service; although the company does offer more feature-rich professional and enterprise versions.

Affordability and ease of use score highly with users; as do the attendance management and recruitment functions. The only real negatives to be found  are clients who wanted more responsive support services. However, these are balanced by reviews that say the exact opposite! As with any system it pays to carefully decide on what level of aftercare you need and choose/spend accordingly.


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Dave Foxall

About the author…

Dave has worked as HR Manager for the Ministry of Justice for a number of years, he now writes on a broad range of topics including jazz music, and, of course, the HRMS software market.

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Dave Foxall

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