Zoho can trace its origins back to 1996, when it started under the name AdvanceNet as a private corporation which it remains to this day. Some of its software products were introduced under the Zoho name, such as Zoho CRM (opens in new tab) in 2005, and the popular office collaboration suite, Zoho Docs in 2007. By 2009, with over a million customers, and with the online office suite going strong, the company’s name was changed to Zoho. Its headquarters remain in Channai, India, with a dozen additional global office locations, and growth has been strong with over 60 million users as of 2021.
Zoho People (opens in new tab), their cloud based HR application, first came to market in 2008. Zoho’s dozens of products are integrated under the Zoho One name to meet the entire spectrum of business needs. There are over 10k employees of Zoho, they invest in R&D via the Zoho Schools of Learning, and they proudly claim that 15% of its engineers have been from that program.
Plans and pricing
A significant plus of Zoho People is that the pricing is quite transparent for the five tiers offered for this software. Another advantage is the 30-day trial, which does not require a credit card. There is also a free tier, good for up to five users, and at the other end of the spectrum a custom quote process is needed for organizations with over 500 users.
The lowest tier is the Essential HR (opens in new tab) one, which has a cost of $1.50 monthly for each user, and drops further to $1.25 monthly per user when paid annually. Even on this starter plan, the basics are covered with time off management, employee onboarding, and employee database management.
Heading up a tier takes us to Professional (opens in new tab), at a cost of $2.50 per user monthly ($2 per user when paid annually). It includes all of the features of the lower plan, and adds in attendance marking via web, mobile, and facial recognition, overtime calculations, timesheets, and shift scheduling.
Next up is the Premium (opens in new tab) tier, at a cost of $3.50 per user monthly, with an available annual discount that lowers it to $3 per user with annual payment. The lower plan’s features are included, and the additional features include performance appraisals, a skill set matrix, self-appraisals, and advanced HR analytics.
Moving another notch up takes us to the Enterprise (opens in new tab) tier at a cost of $5 per user per month ($4.50 per user per month for paying annually). This tier brings forward all the features of the lower tiers, and adds employee query management, course management, appraisals, and a discussion forum.
At the top of this heap of tiers is the People Plus (opens in new tab) plan, for $10 per user per month ($9.50 per user per month when paid annually). This plan takes Zoho People beyond what HR software (opens in new tab) should do with the added “Features” as additional Zoho software offerings, including Zoho Vault (opens in new tab) for password management, Zoho Recruit (opens in new tab) for talent acquisition and Zoho Expense (opens in new tab) for expense management.
Zoho People has plenty of features of value to an HR department. As it is a cloud-based SaaS (opens in new tab), there are advantages such as storage of data online, and the software being up to date.
There is a “Structured onboarding process,” to streamline incorporating new recruits into your organization. It starts with a new hire portal, and along the way there are checklists, and customizable workflows. Through this portal, new hires can receive their offer letter, complete forms including tax forms, and review company policy. Forms can also be electronically signed for convenience. Managers can track the process via status-view reports.
Paydays are stressful for an HR department, so Zoho People has an Attendance Tracker. This allows management to set the hours for the organization, and to track employee attendance. Leveraging the power of data in the cloud, this allows employees- from wherever they may be, including remote ones- to be able to check in from anywhere with the goal of regularizing attendance. Reports can then be generated for management, to track working hours, and provide information to make better decisions. Time can also be managed, with real time tracking of employee absences. Pay periods can also be flexibly configured.
The support for Zoho People offers a number of options, which are centered around the Help Center. The most direct is an email address- not a support portal- so users can directly contact the company with an issue. However, the missing options include a phone number, a chat portal, and a fax number.
However, there are many other resources offered, although they are less direct. We highlight the Administrator Guide, an Employee Handbook, and a Troubleshooting Guide. Here, you can also find a support portal, and a blog. We also like the active community, that is open for everyone to view so we can see there are multiple responses to each topic queried. There is also a series of webinars, for example the on-demand offering “Strategic re-engineering of HR through and post Covid.”
Zoho People offers plenty of features making it worthy of consideration. These include the upfront pricing with no less than five affordable tiers, not even counting the free tier for a business of under five employees with basic functions, the multiple support resources including webinars, and the flexible functionality, such as the new hire portal. Some shortcomings do remain, such as the lack of direct support options, and that company contact is required for a custom quote if your organization has more than 500 employees. With Zoho People integrating well with Zoho’s other software offerings, we consider it a strong entry into the HR software segment.
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