Best HR cloud software options

Man in suit with graphic representing people in a network

Mobility and flexibility are becoming the norm in the modern workplace, and because of this, it has never been more important to keep track of what your employees are up to.

Fortunately, there's HR software available that does exactly that, allowing business owners and managers to keep an eye on those both inside and outside of the office, ensuring that employees are keeping up to date with their work.

HR software is also incredibly useful as part of the hiring process, as it's able to automate tasks such as sifting through candidates and matching qualifications and experience to the right roles.

Key features

The nature of HR software means organisations and businesses can add or remove services based on their specific needs. It's a fantastic feature, but means - as these needs vary from business to business - that there is no one-size-fits-all product.

Talent recruitment is an example of an issue faced by many organisations, for instance, struggling to recruit staff through the existing recruitment system. To mitigate this, an organisation may opt for a recruitment module to smooth the process. Employee reviews, similarly, may become difficult to manage, leading an organisation to deploy performance management tools as part of their overall software package.

HR software is popular in light of this modularity, allowing users to add or remove functions, and change configurations, as the business expands. Moreover, users are able to take up services from alternative providers in the event one provider does not have the module; integrating modules from multiple providers simultaneously.

Sticking with recruitment software, this can also be used to boost internal communication, among its many applications. A host of options out there today come with collaborative tools that allow members of a team, or multiple teams, to work together far more efficiently with each other, and across departments in an organisation.

With a huge variety of choices available, we examine your best options to help you choose the right platforms to suit your organisation's needs.

Types of HR systems

When looking for an HR system to implement in your organisation, it's important to consider the type of tool you need to help your HR team on a day-to-day basis.

The main purpose of a Core HR system is to manage existing staff, including keeping track of all your employees' personal details, their training schedule, the benefits they've signed up to and absence tracking.

If you're looking to find, hire, retain and train staff, you'll need to think about signing up to a strategic HR system. For example, if you need to appoint a lot of staff in a short space of time, you'll want to consider a strategic system, because it'll cut the cost of finding right-fit candidates over time. It's perfect for high volume recruitment businesses such as retail or hospitality.

If you need aspects of both core and strategic HR systems, you'll want to consider an integrated HR tool that combines the best of both worlds. It covers the entire employee lifecycle - from finding candidates to managing existing staff, making every single step of discovering new talent, managing the onboarding process and ensuring the employee is always growing in their role a doddle

Activ Absence


Overview: Activ Absence focuses on managing staff absences. According to the company that created it, the cloud-based software is easy to pick up with minimal training, and businesses using the software save time and money and up to 30 per cent less sickness absence.

Features: As with the other cloud-based services in the roundup, Activ Absence sports a dashboard detailing staff absences, a calendar, departmental summaries and notifications, among others. This dashboard can also be customised to suit the user.

One of the many tools the service deploys is the Bradford Factor Score. This is commonly used to help with controlling absences and shows an organisation and its staff the direct impact of their absence on this score. The service claims this score can act as a deterrent to prevent further absences. If the score gets too high, trigger points alert the appropriate people to take action.

While the tool is aimed at HR staff, line managers and employees can also use it. Line managers can see who is off and when and get trend reports to manage shortages and help staff return to work. Employees can manage their own holiday requests through any device and see their own Bradford Score.

The software can also integrate with other HR software and cloud-based services.

Pricing: Guide price for 10 employees/ £22.50 per month (minimum 12-month subscription). In addition to the subscription, there is a one off set up fee starting from £99.



Overview: BambooHR is a web-based human resources information system (HRIS) to manage staff through a clean directory interface.

Features: “BambooHR is like having your own fleet of Pandas to do all of the work for you,” say its creators. That’s one way to describe this capable HR package, aimed at helping small to medium businesses manage existing staff.

It does away with spreadsheets and stores your employee data in a secure location. HR staff can access information quickly, make updates to records and approve requests using software that’s helpfully designed to feel more like the user experience of a social network.

BambooHR promises swift support from its team, and positive testimonies for the service have been given by Disqus, Stitcher and 99designs.

Pricing: On application



Overview: While ClearBooks may be better known as providing payroll and accountancy SaaS, it also provides HR functionality. The service is geared towards small businesses and integrates with the vendor's accounting and payroll apps.

Features: When logging in, the service home screen is a dashboard that shows information such as which staff are on holiday, upcoming birthdays, other absences, staff leaving and new joiners.

The service keeps track of employee attendance with an overview of holidays, illnesses and appointments, both approved and pending. Absences can be recorded as a half or full day and covers absences such as sick leave, lateness, parental leave, conference attendance and training, as well as holiday, to name a few.

Staff holiday records can be synced with other web and desktop calendars a business uses. Employees can log into their account to view how many days of their holiday allowance they have taken, how many they have remaining, and whether time off requests are approved or pending.

It also keeps track of employee qualifications and training documents and HR staff can also upload employee documents such as contracts, CVs and review summaries, which can then be shared between HR and other departments.

User permissions can be set to ensure only relevant people such as direct managers can see employee information and approve absences.

Pricing: From £2.50 per employee per month, minimum two employees.



Overview: This SaaS product is a cloud-based employee performance appraisal service that enables employees to improve their performance by focusing on achieving business goals. It automates the performance appraisal process and makes it easier to share and update information throughout the year.

Features: Dinamicks has a home screen that is not a dashboard as such, but a series of icons labelled Your Team, Our Goals and Values, Analysis, and Administration.

Within "Your Team", the user can see individual team members, their position and appraisal status, and new team members can be added here as well.

"Our Goals and Values" details an organisation's goals, (such as increasing sales, marketing strategy, etc) and values (such as honesty, integrity, keeping promises).

"Analysis" displays a simple dashboard displaying information regarding your team's performance objectives in relation to your own, and the business' overarching goals.

"Administration" covers adding employees to the service, job roles, goals, values and everything else needed to plan out and run an appraisal system.

Pricing: On application

Fairsail HRMS


Overview: This HR service is aimed at mid-sized organisations. While the provider is relatively small compared to other players in the market, the service has a comprehensive list of features needed by HR professionals.

Features: Fairsail HRMS is based on the Salesforce platform and boasts a full HR management system, including all employee records, organisation charts, employee portal, and reporting.

It also supports multi-national organisations, as it has multi-currency and multi-language options, as well as different employment rules and calendars. Its talent management section includes performance planning, goal setting, performance reviews, skills tracking, 360 feedback and succession planning.

It also comes with an applicant tracking system, criteria-based interviews and scorecards, careers page, screening, portals, email templates, and onboarding.

The service will also integrate with multiple payroll and benefits providers. It also sports time and attendance management, benefits and open enrolment as well as holiday management.

Pricing On application

FinancialForce HCM

Website FinancialForce

Overview: FinancialForce is built on’s cloud platform It is a fully-integrated human capital management solution that helps small and medium businesses manage every aspect of the employee lifecycle, from hiring to retiring.

Features: FinancialForce sports modules for core HR functions, applicant tracking and recruiting, onboarding, compensation management, learning management and a host of others.

It uses data analysis to offer key insights into employee and organisation performance, ensuring everyone - including C-Suite execs, VP of HR, HRM, CIOs and SysAdmins can use it to make better decisions and leverage the business.

If you're looking to develop the talent in your organisation, FinancialForce helps you reward those who deserve it most, ensuring hey are nurtured to benefit your business long-term.

Price: On application

Halogen Software

Website: Halogen Software Inc

Overview: Halogen Software is a cloud-based performance management suite that aims to drive employee performance across multiple disciplines, from learning and development to succession planning and compensation.

Features: The software is flexible, offering a variety of modules that work in tandem to achieve your intended performance goals.

For example, the recruiting and onboarding module helps an HR team attract and engage new hires with an integrated process of recruiting and onboarding the best talent, while the performance management module enables organisations to align, engage and inspire existing employees, while.

Others available include compensation for rewarding staff, succession and leadership to help promote the best talent with a plan to help them flourish and learning and development to develop the skills your employees hold.

The Canadian-owned software maker has also developed a solid reputation as a customer-focused organisation, and users speak highly of its customer support. It is also known as an affordable solution for mid-sized businesses.

Price: On application (free trial available)


Website: hronline

Overview: Hronline is a web-based HR service aimed at small businesses. It enables business owners to set up the system and register their staff. Managers can monitor who is in and employees can request holidays and track absence from their smartphone.

Features: It sports a management dashboard for quick access to sickness, advice & holiday requests. There is also a reports dashboard to help identify trends within the business.

The premium package also offers access to professional employment law advice 24/7, while the mid-level package includes limited access to employment lawyers too. It can log advice cases in the user’s account against employees or groups of employees, view on-going and current advice cases, store detailed records of your cases and respond directly to the advisor you last dealt with.

The service also sports an app on Android and iOS that allows business owners to track HR issues and employees to request holidays and update personal details.

The service also features the ability to store important company documents in one centralised location, such as training documents, drivers Licences, CBR checks, handbooks and performance reviews.

Pricing: on request



Overview: JobDiva is a global applicant tracking system and front-to-back talent management solution.

Features: Integrated HR suite JobDiva gives businesses the means to keep track of current staff, clients and new candidates for roles they are currently advertising.

It’ a fully-integrated platform, offering messaging features, billing trackers, and reminder tools to help you stay on top of holiday time, events and other key dates.

Its biggest plus is the fact you can access it from mobile devices (iPad version pictured above), enhancing the ability of HR staff to do their work remotely.

Pricing: On application



Overview: JobScience takes the stress out of recruitment, helping HR teams find candidates and track applicants through the process.

Features: HR and hiring managers are able to create job listings through the platform and post them to their corporate careers page. They can also automatically post them to their social accounts with Facebook and LinkedIn integration.

Candidates can apply directly through LinkedIn, making it an easier process for them to apply, which is more likely to attract better talent to the role. The system keeps every candidate's details within the CRM, meaning recruiters can simply search for talent with the relevant skills quickly. It'll also pull in the details of candidates from the social accounts, so anyone following the company page can be approached if their profile fits the bill.

CVs can be uploaded in bulk and JobScience will automatically create a profile for each candidate and when a new job becomes available, it will automatically scour the existing candidate profiles to find someone who could be a match.

Once a fit is uncovered, recruiters can manage the applicant journey by tracking correspondence, scheduling interviews and forwarding relevant candidates to hiring managers when required.

Pricing: On application


Publisher: Namely Inc

Overview: Namely combines core HR team management, payroll processing, benefits and talent management into a single package.

Features: Employee information is displayed clearly in profiles. The system has a built an e-signature system, reducing the need for HR to chase paper contracts too, saving time and admin burden.

To make admin even easier for HR departments, Namely focuses extensively on employee benefits, helping organisations offer their employees a whole range of extra bonuses for working at the company and performing to their best ability, including health insurance offers, employee wellness programmes including gym memberships and extra benefits for commuters - clearly addressing some of the employee bugbears.

Customers speak highly of the software, as well as Namely’s customer service which has been described as “outstanding.”

Price: On application (product preview available)

Reward Gateway


Overview: Reward Gateway bills itself as an "employee engagement platform". In other words, an online benefits program. It allows employees to get discounts to a range of goods and services.

Features: New to Reward Gateway is a service called SmartHub. This allows organisations to build up a benefits programme specifically tailored to them rather than having a generic program. Users can pick and choose which discounts they want to offer employees using "SmartTiles" and dragging these onto the rewards page. Analytics will then tell the user which discounts are popular in order to maximise usage of the program.

The service's Reward and Recognition program is aimed at helping users achieve organisational goals around HR. It claims that this can help in reinforcing certain behaviours or attitudes, or completely overhaul corporate values. This part of the programme includes "InstantAwards". These allow HR staff to send a monetary award to valued staff who can then spend it within the program, getting discounts on other goods and services.

The overall program also caters for salary sacrifice measures such as childcare vouchers, cycle to work schemes and holiday trading (buying and selling annual leave).

HR Directors can use Reward Gateway's technology to communicate with their staff as well on things such as upcoming events, deadlines or anything else.

Pricing On application

Sage HR Online


Overview: Sage HR Online was only launched earlier this year. It describes itself as a complete package that ranges from talent management through to skills development and performance reviews.

Features: Once logged in, the service brings the user to a dashboard where they can view all areas of HR and their functions, which are shown as cards displaying information. The dashboard can be customised to show other information concerning human resources and cards can be moved around the dashboard to suit a user's preferences.

The personnel overview shows the number of employees and "active managers". All these have a breakdown by gender, average age and working hours for employees, and employees per manager.

There are open personnel tasks that show what jobs need to be completed while active employees shows current staff on the roster.

There are also cards showing open vacancies, applicant overviews and new job applications. All incoming CVs, attached documents, and data are automatically imported into the system and presented in a clearly structured design that is permanently available.

Pricing: On application



Overview: Ultimate Software’s cloud-based UltiPro aims to help simplify and improve work experiences for every employee.

Features: UltiPro one of the most trusted pieces of core HR software around. It gives HR teams instant access to critical employee data, job profiles, and more, with a variety of tracking features. HR staff can provide transfers, promotions, benefits information, and oversee continuous performance management and development.

As well as core staff development and attendance features, UltiPro has built-in payroll support, asset records, and recruitment management tools. Users praise its intuitiveness and the ease at which it can be customised compared to other SaaS HR packages.

Pricing: On application



Overview: Workable offers HR teams an easy way to track job applicants, replacing cumbersome emails and spreadsheets.

Features: Aside from its applicant tracking system, Workable also helps you write job descriptions and post them to multiple sites like Glassdoor and SimplyHired, while all the notes, analytics, schedule and communication within your hiring team stays on one central platform to make everything easily accessible.

Best of all, it integrates with your own email and calendar so you don't need to keep the application open when scheduling meetings.

Pricing: Workable offers annual and monthly plans, and the latter can be paused and reactivated as convenient. Annual prices start at an average of $16 per month for one job, with a standard price of $83 per month for five jobs. Monthly prices start at $19 per month for one job, with a standard price of $99 per month for five jobs.

Workday HCM

Publisher: Workday Inc

Overview: Workday’s HCM solution is used by the likes of HP, TripAdvisor and TomTom. The software combines HR and talent management in a single system and aims to give your HR team a holistic view of your workforce across divisions and countries.

Features: It offers intuitive self-service features to enable staff to check salary payments, book holiday and so forth.

For HR, the system capably handles promotions, leave, ad-hoc job changes, bonuses and equity arrangements. All of this is tracked, and the data can be surfaced in clean diagrams and sheets to assist your team in making better decisions.

Users have claimed that Workday’s mathematical formulas aren’t always that straightforward, and occasionally cause issues. But, for the most part, this scalable, durable solution is well-liked by businesses of all sizes.

Price: On application (product preview available)

This article was first published on 13 August 2015 but has since been updated (most recently on 1 July 2018) to reflect recent developments.

Dale Walker

Dale Walker is the Managing Editor of ITPro, and its sibling sites CloudPro and ChannelPro. Dale has a keen interest in IT regulations, data protection, and cyber security. He spent a number of years reporting for ITPro from numerous domestic and international events, including IBM, Red Hat, Google, and has been a regular reporter for Microsoft's various yearly showcases, including Ignite.