The Best Human Resource Management Systems buyers guide by Inspector Jones

We reviewed over 50 HRMS solutions to manage your personnel - including positions, absence, payroll and benefits.

The Best Human Resource Management System


Our independent review for Human Resource Management Systems (HRMS or HRIS) selected Workday as the best option, particularly because of its great usability and customer experiences. Workday has solid functionality across-the-board, strong investment in R&D and is appealing because of its simplicity and flexibility. Workday has excellent security and support behind the application.

The Human Resource Management System Shortlist

We’ve reviewed the dozens and dozens of different Human Resource Management Systems (HRMS or HRIS) solutions on the market, for medium and large enterprises. This shortlist is the best-of-the-best - enterprise-grade solutions that are proven, well-maintained, and being actively developed. If these vendors don’t fit your specific niche, or are too pricey, I recommend you look at the full list of HRMS vendors…

What To Look For

I recommend that you review human resource management systems in two stages. First, a feature review to make sure the HRMS does what you need it to. Secondly, a review of how the software will integrate with your people, processes and technology.


I've found that most of the top human resource management systems offer very similar core features. However, they do differ significantly when it comes to advanced features such as analytics, role-based security, matrix management, workflow and integration. I recommend you look for:
  • Manage personnel information - supporting different types of employees, contingent workers, and people of other working relationships
  • Employee and Manager self-service
  • Absence management - time off and planned leave
  • Time and attendance - document and track hours worked
  • Benefits administration - monitoring and configuring programs like healthcare, pension and insurance
  • Payroll - including calculations for leave/absence, hours worked, overtime, bonuses and commissions, contributions, deductions and taxes
  • Personnel Scheduling
  • Manage positions - reporting lines, position descriptions, organisational charts, matrix management
  • Analytics for workforce, to predict future needs
  • Support for mobile devices

Fits your people, process and technology

Expect that the organisational fit will probably be the deciding factor for your human resource management system selection. I recommend that you review the following checklist:
  • Does it provide configurable workflow, automation and forms that meet your existing processes?
  • Your HRMS will probably be heavily integrated with other systems - does it offer robust and flexible integration options?
  • Will it integrate with enterprise social software and employee surveys?
  • How easy is it to use? Usability is so crucial! Make sure you review the application from a manager's point of view, and an employee's point of view.
  • Is it compliant with your legal and regulatory needs?
  • Does it provide role-based security?
  • Does it offer relevant reporting that meets your needs?

Integrated With Talent Management

Most of the vendors on the HRMS shortlist also provide some great options for talent management - the features for attracting, retaining and developing staff. My strongest suggestion is to review Successfactors by SAP. If you are considering a talent management solution alongside a human resource management system, you might be interested in another two options for your shortlist.

SilkRoad Life Suite is a good fully-featured solution, that spans the entire Human Capital Management field. It includes SilkRoad HeartBeat - their HRMS solution - as well as other talent management features. I like the breadth of SilkRoad’s offering, and quality of service.

SumTotal have a very strong talent management solution, which is widely used by some of the world’s top companies. I rate SumTotal’s talent management very highly.

All Human Resource Management Systems