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Choosing the best employee management software

A successful company needs a reliable way to ensure its employees are happy, productive, and managed properly. This is where the employee management system, or EMS, comes into play.

Content team
Content team

Content manager Keith MacKenzie and content specialist Alex Pantelakis bring their HR & employment expertise to Resources.

What is employee management software, and why do you need it? This deep dive into EMS explains everything you need to know.

With these technology-based solutions, companies can simplify human resources management roles to maximize efficiency.

Additionally, all personal and work-related details of employees are stored securely within the employee information system making it more convenient for managers to quickly access relevant data.

All businesses can benefit from the implementation of the EMS tool in the following ways:

  • implementing processes to help companies achieve their business objectives
  • assisting managers in keeping track of admin activities
  • help improve employee engagement and increase productivity
  • assist with vacations and absence management and timekeeping
  • help HR managers and organizational leaders track performance reviews of employees
  • connect the workforce and create a sustainable hybrid work model

EMS vs. HR software – what’s the difference?

The terminology used in human resources tech can be confusing, but it needn’t be. “Employment Management Software” is a broad term, so you may find it referred to as the following, each of which comes with subtle differences but includes features of employee management:

Human Resources Information System (HRIS)

An HRIS is a tool Human Resources departments use to optimize their operations. It contains all the components necessary to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in managing HR tasks.

Human Capital Management software (HCM)

Focused on employee management, it is designed to help organizations acquire and develop talent and optimize their team performance. Its features can assist with recruiting, onboarding, and assessing employee performance.

Human Resources Management system (HRMS)

A digital platform designed to facilitate and streamline a variety of HR processes. It is there to help organizations keep track of their personnel and the activities carried out by the people management team. In essence, these systems are used to provide complete oversight of an organization’s operations.

For a deeper dive, check out our HRIS vs. HCMS vs. HRM guide!

Related: What is employee management?

Benefits of Employee Management Software

Let’s look at some of the benefits of using employee management software in more detail, but matching their features with goals:

Goal: To optimize internal processes

Why you need to do it: Managing different HR processes can be challenging and time-consuming. EMS eliminates the need to use several tools and helps improve the HR team’s overall efficiency.

Goal: To improve the work climate

Why you need to do it: Timely feedback helps improve the work culture. EMS lets you monitor, evaluate, and provide workers with feedback on their performance.

Goal: To ensure compliance with legal obligations

Why you need to do it: Organizations must adhere to legal and regulatory standards concerning employees and management. EMS tools ensure you remain up-to-date with the HR and labor rules and regulations.

Goal: To ensure employee engagement

Why you need to do it: To improve workplace motivation and increase employee productivity. EMS helps you easily monitor and evaluate employees’ progress, helps employees feel confident and encourages them to develop a good relationship with the organization, and creates an environment that encourages communication.

Goal: To save HR team time

Why you need to do it: Access to employee data helps managers implement strategic decisions and increase workplace productivity quickly. Most systems are cloud-based, which gives employers and HR teams access to the data anywhere. EMS saves time because HR no longer has to wait to make decisions because of a lack of information

Goal: To achieve better data security

Why you need to do it: Reduce the risk of sensitive information being accessed without authority and adhere to data storage regulations. EMS can guarantee your data security with encryption measures.

Goal: Reduce paperwork

Why you need to do it: Introduce more sustainable practices into your organization and streamline processes. EMS can be customized to meet the requirements of each department to reduce paperwork. It also enables the HR department and employees to complete forms online.

Breaking down the different types of employee management software

Here are three types of employee management software:

1. Time and productivity management software

Managers and business leaders need to be able to track the productivity of their employees; this is where time and productivity management software comes in. These systems are designed to measure:

  • productive and non-productive hours
  • what projects each employee is working on
  • any potential signs of wasted time
  • other factors of employee efficiency

Such tools offer a great deal of insight into the busiest days for each department and allow managers to recognize when an employee might need to be more productive.

2. HR Management Software

A crucial element in successful employee management is an HR management system. These systems store all employee data and streamline HR operations to enhance decision-making.

These tools provide a comprehensive solution for organizations’ HR tasks, from onboarding staff to managing payroll activities.

In addition, the compliance-driven elements of many HR processes make manual labor time-consuming and expensive; using such systems simplifies this process and helps managers preserve time, resources, and money.

3. Employee collaboration and communication software

For the team to succeed, effective communication is essential. With the proper tools in place, everyone on the team can remain connected and collaborate effectively. By establishing an atmosphere of regular communication, each individual’s tasks can be completed successfully. Along with providing swift communication, many of these systems enable members to exchange data easily.

Next-gen employee management software: talent management tech

HR departments today have a much different challenge than in the past. With many companies embracing diverse demographics of employees, they must be able to keep up with and respond to workers spread across many generations, skill levels, locations, and unique career goals. All while keeping up with the changing times of a fast-paced world where staying connected is paramount.

As a result, there has been an upsurge in demand for highly intelligent, user-friendly, and efficient tools for managing talent resources. These are some features in employee management software that can help HR departments enhance their recruiting efforts.

1. Streamlining the onboarding process

By utilizing a strong Human Resources strategy, companies can ensure the onboarding process of their new hires is effortless and impactful.

With access to a digital hub filled with company culture and aspirations, newcomers can become quickly informed about what is expected from them.

Recruits are granted the ability to virtually get accustomed to job or department details before their first day.

2. Mainstreaming performance management

Moving away from a system that only includes yearly reviews, the performance management process is now incorporating a more continuous feedback loop with a 360-degree approach. This enables employees and managers to provide one another with continual feedback and advice.

Performance monitoring tools monitor what tasks employees work on and how long they spend on each task to determine their productivity.

Automated employee management software reminds a business unit to share reviews or feedback about a colleague’s performance.

3. Personalized learning and teaching

Companies must learn how to tailor both learnability and teachability to maximize success.

Data and feedback loops can greatly help assess a learner’s current skills and interests and match those qualities with individual preferences and company objectives.

Top employee management software providers


Elevate your HR operations effortlessly with Workable, an easy-to-use HRIS platform designed to streamline the employee onboarding and management journey. This platform stands out for its blend of customizable features that cater directly to the nuances of HR tasks.

Through Workable, you can set up custom workflows, launch a branded onboarding portal, and leverage automated compliance tools to ensure a smooth transition and management of new hires. It’s all about creating an organized, efficient, and engaging experience for both HR managers and employees alike.

Key features: Customizable workflows, branded onboarding experiences, automated compliance management, company document organization, clear organizational structure, efficient time-off management.

What makes it good:

  • Tailored for quickly growing businesses
  • Enhanced HR management
  • Seamless integration
  • Professional and polished experience
  • Cost-effective solution
  • Comprehensive compliance tools
  • Advanced reporting and analytics
  • Mobile accessibility for on-the-go management


Organize your business operations easily with the help of the cloud-based platform, This comprehensive tool provides features to support Human Resources needs, making it ideal for employee management tasks.

From creating collaborative workflows, assigning tasks to keep track of performance indicators, and sending out reminders, you will be able to do all this and more.

Key features: HR templates, onboarding, recruitment pipeline, employee wellbeing, employee development and learning, employee engagement, workflows.

What makes it good:

  • Suitable for mid-sized businesses
  • It helps you communicate and collaborate easily
  • It has powerful reporting and analytics
  • Supports multiple integrations
  • It’s mobile-enabled
  • Offers customizable dashboards
  • Offers reports for progress tracking, budget totals, capacity limitations, missed deadline warnings, and more
  • It has a user-friendly interface
  • It is reasonably priced

3. Gusto

Gusto is a complete HR solution for small businesses, offering an array of features that simplify managing payroll hiring.
It might be best known for its payroll system specifically designed with the needs of smaller companies in mind. This means it takes care of filing all local, state, and federal tax forms on behalf of your company – with electronic signing, faxing, and document storage available within the Gusto dashboard.

Key features: Payroll, contractor payment, benefits administration, time tracking, taxes, compliance.

What makes it good:

  • Ideal for first-time and experienced HR administrators
  • Includes easy-to-use setup tools, management, and payroll runs
  • Offers team management tools, employee engagement features, performance reviews, and time-off management
  • Good customer service and support
  • Offers personalized solutions
  • It has powerful integrations such as QuickBooks

4. Rippling

Rippling’s HR and IT automation features make it a breeze to use. Its intuitive platform and app integration capabilities offer a comprehensive range of tools that both administrators and HR staff will find useful.

Features include applicant tracking, custom hiring workflows, task management, compliance training, and customizable reporting. These are all designed to streamline human resources processes that are time-intensive.

Key features: Onboarding and offboarding, payroll, benefits administration, workflow management, time tracking, security

What makes it good:

  • Intuitive and easy-to-use
  • Highly customizable
  • Easy to automate several HR processes
  • It has a mobile app
  • It makes the onboarding process simple and quick

5. Paycor

Paycor has designed its human capital management software to simplify businesses’ payroll, talent acquisition, workforce management, and benefits administration processes.

It also provides added value by giving insight into the experiences of employees. Advanced reporting and analytics features make it a good choice for companies keen to explore their data further to make smarter choices.

Small business owners can benefit from the tools that aid with employee engagement, turnover, diversity, and budgeting efforts.

Key features: analytics and reporting, benefits administration, employee surveys, expense management, payroll, workforce management

What makes it good:

  • Offers extensive reporting and customizable analytics features
  • Analytics data is presented in a helpful visual format
  • The web platform and mobile app are user-friendly and easy to navigate
  • Integrates well with popular benefits, retirement, background checks, and hiring tools

Choosing the right employee management software for you

Are you in search of the perfect employee management software? There are a few key aspects to consider.

You will need an application that enables quick and easy observation of your workforce.

You must be able to access up-to-date job titles, salary details, skills, contact data, and more. Staff scheduling and PTO is another essential function this system should offer.

Performance review tools, as well as survey services, should be accessible to deliver feedback to employees while monitoring company satisfaction.

Benefits and payroll management need to be accessible within the same platform to avoid any unnecessary duplication of data entry.

Automation options should also be available, so you don’t need to spend extra time managing tasks manually.

Finding what works best for your employees

To find the optimum solution for your organization, consider the size of your team. A large-scale organization may opt for an approach that helps track productivity and performance; in contrast, a smaller firm that relies on highly talented personnel might prefer a management strategy geared toward encouraging creativity and collaboration.

Either way, weighing up the pros and cons of the employee management software requires engagement from all personnel who will ultimately be working with it – that’s how you get buy-in and achieve success.

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