Awesome HR tools for small businesses

Some services are just not "small business friendly." They might lack strong customer support, might be too expensive, and might require employees with very specialized skill set to be able to operate the system.  Plus, old outdated software might make things more difficult, creating latency and reducing efficiency. Sometimes it's inevitable, especially when there are no other real winners out there, but this is why it's important to keep your eyes out for better solutions on the market. 

Because I'm a huge fan of getting things done right the first time, I wanted to write about a few of my favorite HR/Recruiting Software-As-A-Service (SAAS) solutions that will save you a ton of time (and headache) down the line.  New technologies always emerge (so I can't guarantee this list will still be up to date and current 10 years from now), but if you are starting a business now, or in the early stages, look into these SAAS services to get your business running to a good start. You'll be in good hands. 

Echosign (Adobe Document Cloud)

There are a ton of e-signing services out there (like DocuSign, Hellosign) but Echosign is my favorite pick.   Even though Echosign is a bit pricier than the others, it's an established product that is easy to use and intuitive - plus it's backed by Adobe, so you know that your documents are here to stay. I recommended Echosign over DocuSign, for this very reason, but I've heard great things about both (DocuSign gets a plus for integrating with Greenhouse).  

I recommended this product to my current company because we used to send our employment documents by paper, then mail them through FedEx, but I realized that 1) it was eating up a ton of costs and 2) it was not an efficient process. It also has an easy search feature, so even if you send 500 documents, it's easy to track of and store.  Echosign easily took care of a lot of our problems, and has made my life so much easier. 

Greenhouse ATS 

For companies that need a database to keep track of their candidates, Greenhouse is a clear winner, especially for small businesses. Other Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to choose from include Jobvite, Resumator, and Lever, but in my experience, Greenhouse beats them all because of their elegant design and ease of use, plus robust set of features. Some of my favorite features of GH include their email templates (which makes using TextExpander obsolete), and their scheduling email feature (comparable to Boomerang). Plus, GH is absolutely fantastic when it comes to data reporting and analytics, making pipelining and reporting very transparent. Overall, I've been able to save so much extra time because GH helps takes care of a lot of administrative tasks. 

My company had been using Jobvite for a while, and I was afraid to make the switch (because going through data migration and the initial set up sounded like a nuisance), but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. GH has a very impressive and responsive customer care team, so support was never an issue.  Implementation was actually quite easy so if you've been thinking about making a change, don't let this deter you. 


Zenpayroll is an up and coming payroll provider, perfect for small companies. They have impeccable design and an easy to use interface, plus an  affordable business model. I haven't used ZP on the business side, but I have used it when being paid out as a 1099 contractor. I really enjoyed having direct access to my online account, paystubs and W2 information - yay for being ecofriendly! 

Our company currently uses ADP Workforce Now and may consider switching in the future (ZenPayroll also integrates with Zenefits, so that's a plus). From a price point standpoint, ZP would save us more money.  The real advantage though is having an intuitive interface (so we could troubleshoot our own issues) and having access to a support team that is easily available (our accountant always has to call when there are issues). I'm sure that our employees would also enjoy having all access to their payroll information as well. 


Zenefits has been getting a ton of hype lately, but a lot of people seem to be confused about what service it really is. To summarize, Zenefits at the core is an insurance broker (they tie to all of the big carriers like BlueShield, Kaiser, Delta Dental, etc). They are a "free" service to businesses because Zenefits makes money from the health care carriers directly from new employee enrollments (so you don't actually pay anything upfront). They have other bells and whistles tied in their service, like employee onboarding, payroll, time off requests, and employee files. Even if you don't provide insurance for your employees, I believe you can still use Zenefits for employee files, on-boarding and PTO, but it might not be as helpful.

We recently switched to Zenefits and so far feedback has been positive. Implementation took about 2.5 months, so for a while we were in limbo.  There are still a few bugs and features we'd like to see, but their support team is really great and thorough, so I really can't complain. We had a lot of issues with our old insurance broker (mainly about enrollment and lack of transparency), so we hope that this will solve issues moving forward. 


These are my top picks for any HR/recruiting function that I personally recommend.  If you are thinking about scaling your HR division, or just researching, make sure to check these tools out!  They offer very affordable solutions, especially for small businesses looking to be lean with their HR/recruiting costs.  If I had to start from scratch, I'd make sure to get these set up from the get-go.