Zenefits HR and payroll review

With Zenefits it’s possible to tackle HR and payroll within one single software package

(Image: © Zenefits)

TechRadar Verdict

We love the way Zenefits amalgamates lots of core small business tasks and bundles them all under the umbrella of a very user-friendly application.


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    Solid one-stop option

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    Great interface

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    Amalgamates tasks


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    Support a mixed bag

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Zenefits is a cloud-based software offering that comes with all the tools a small business needs to handle HR tasks. However, Zenefits has also been developed to allow payroll processing too, which makes it a practical option for small to medium-sized businesses that need a cost-effective software solution. With three keenly priced standard packages, plus the option to use additional paid-for add-ons Zenefit can be expanded to suit the needs of a growing company. 

Having been around for just over 7 years now Zenefits sits right up against close competitor Gusto because of its beefy set of features, simple functionality and value for money stance. Zenefits also comes with the option for scaling up its use, which makes it an obvious choice for larger companies with great numbers of employees.


Zenefits has three base level pricing options plus a selection of add-ons (Image credit: Zenefits)


Zenefits has three main base plan options to choose from, which can be paid for on a monthly or annual setup. That said, the packages on offer have a minimum of 5 employees requirement, so even if you have less than that on your books you’ll need to pay for the 5 employee level for each of the products that are available. 

Taking them on the annual costing angle, there’s Essentials, which comes in at the cheapest end of the spectrum. It costs $8 per month, per employee and offers core HR, time and scheduling, integrations and a mobile app as part of the package. 

Next up is Zenefits ‘most popular’ option, the Growth package, which is $14 per month, per employee. It includes core HR, time and scheduling, integrations and a mobile app. On top of that there are compensation management and performance management tools. 

Topping it off is the Zen package, which costs $21 per month, per employee. This one has everything in the Growth bundle plus Wellbeing tools and the option for carrying out employee engagement surveys. 

There’s also a People Hub, which will prove useful for businesses with larger numbers of employees. Zenefits does also suggest getting in touch with them directly if you have a sizeable organization as they can tailor a package to suit.


Zenefits comes with a very easy to use interface and feature set (Image credit: Zenefits)


If you’re running a small business with employees and staff management tasks to tackle then Zenefits could well prove useful. At its core is HR, with a selection of human resources tools that allow everything from general administration and onboarding through to performance reviews and time and scheduling duties to be carried out, all within one straightforward interface. 

The useful thing is that the HR data can also be used to tackle benefits options for employees and can be used to cover payroll, which is now an included part of the package. On top of that there are additional advisory services, which gets you unlimited access to a team of HR and payroll experts. 

However, there is an additional cost of $8 per month, per employee for this. Another option, which costs $5 per month, per employee is the ability to carry out benefits administration using your own broker. In addition, the payroll aspect comes with reporting tools plus tax and filing assistance.


Zenefits also lets you amalgamate tasks including payroll duties (Image credit: Zenefits)


Being a cloud-based SaaS product you should get solid performance from Zenefits, especially considering that it has recently been updated to take into consideration the coronavirus pandemic. This has resulted in numerous new measures being implemented, and Zenefits has been tweaked to take these into account. 

You’ll also find that Zenefits comes with the option to integrate its functionality with many different productivity tools that can be used in tandem with the SaaS package. Lookout for the likes of Workato, Zapier, Box, Hive, Salesforce, Zoom, Slack and Office 365 to name but a few, all of which can be used alongside Zenefits.


You also get access to a series of reporting and engagement tools (Image credit: Zenefits)

Ease of use

You’ll find a welcoming interface one of the most appealing aspects of Zenefits, with a clean and concise layout allowing you to quickly access key areas of the program. Heading up the menu system is the Overview area, which as the name suggests gives you a central home area from which you can tackle all of the other options within the cloud-based package. 

Everyday use of Zenefits proves to be a breeze, with lots of useful helping hand touches such as template options to ease the initial learning curve. There are also mobile editions of the Zenefits service, for both iOS and Android. While proving useful for employees this route doesn’t have quite the same level of useability for administrators as the desktop edition.


The Zenefits reporting tools offer a selection of insights into your business activity (Image credit: Zenefits)


Most users of Zenefits seem to be universal in their praise for the online support while using this cloud based SaaS solution. The help hub carries a selection of options for getting the best from the software. Indeed, there’s the added bonus of a Coronavirus/COVID-19 area that can help you pick your way through more recent changes that could be affecting your business and its staffing situation. 


Support comes via a help hub and the usual contact options including phone and email (Image credit: Zenefits)

Alongside that are help files on getting started, tackling payroll, scheduling, time and attendance and a raft of other crucial need-to-know areas. While dealing with support personnel draws more of a mixed reaction, Zenefits does have all of the usual contact options at hand for signed-up users, all of which can be accessed once you’ve logged in.

Final verdict

Zenefits has taken a dynamic approach to its cloud-based package and thankfully added some additional features that take into account the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Even without that though Zenefits is still a very appealing prospect, especially for the smaller to medium-sized business that wants to roll lots of features and functions into one package. 

From everyday HR administration tasks through to payroll and onwards to reporting and taking in tax filing too, Zenefits can help you pick your way through all sort of tasks related to managing staff. 

If you’re tired of having to deal with a disjointed administration process then the way that Zenefits can help join together HR, payroll and employee time and attendance challenges and roll them into one workflow makes it well worth a look.

Rob Clymo

Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.