What is the best HR System to implement into a small-yet-growing business?

Hello everyone,

I have been tasked with finding a decent HR system for our growing company (currently 50 employees), we currently don't have anything. There seem to be so many it is hard to know where to start so I thought I would ask you. I would like the following features;

A database so each employee has their own file that we can scan their documents onto and then moving forward just upload.

It would be good for employees to book their own holiday, submit expenses, complete their timesheets.

It would be great if they could access their own payslips and see their benefits (benefit statements).

If you work on a particularly good system please can you tell me what it is and why you like it.

I have been made aware of 'Clarity HR' and 'Staffed Squared' - what do you think of these?

Thank you in advance for your help!


  • BreatheHR which is very user friendly, easy to navigate and very clear. The reporting capabilities are limited and like Robey said you may need to manage the data outside the system.
    Similar to what Teresa said, we use PeopleHR as GDPR was a major concern following an audit. I find PeopleHR is more intuitive than BreatheHR.
  • As the performance ratings could not be customised we decided against BreatheHR and I am testing CitrusHR at the moment which is very user-friendly and allows customisation of everything we need. I also liked PeopleHR but it's more expensive than the other two.
  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    28 May, 2019 08:48

    Hi Sarah... worth checking out this thread, too...

    (There are many others).
  • Hi Sarah

    I work for a small charitable organisation which prior to me joining, did not have any HRIS in place. Late last year I trialled several in the market and eventually landed on BreatheHR.

    I implemented the system with great ease and piloted it with a group of volunteers from across the organisation. No major hiccups were met, all staff found it to be very simple and user friendly. So, in January, I opened it up to the wider population for full use.

    I've had great feedback and its very easy to grasp, even for those who have never used a HRIS before. My only negative comment would be that sometimes it can be a little too simplistic, in that it doesn't have the array of features you might get with a more expensive HRIS brand. However, overall, it does all the main things expected from a HRIS and as a charity, we get the HRIS completely free, which is a huge bonus for us.

    Also, I will add that the BreatheHR support team are very helpful and are very open to suggestions for improving the system. They make regular updates and changes and are keen to make it a product that supports its customer needs.

    All in all, as an SME that may not have had any HRIS in place previously, BreatheHR is a great way to introduce employees to this way of work with it also not feeling like a complete shock to the system.
  • Hi Sarah

    This year I researched 8 companies with similar aims to yours and I also required appraisal and peer review. My final 2 were People HR and Breathe. I wanted to make sure I had a system for employees not just HR and I felt that Breathe was less complex although I did like the People HR interface. In the end it came down to cost and training for the Board and Breathe was the choice. Unfortunately Breathe doesn't come in any other languages and that was the only drawback for us. I can't give feedback beyond that as we are implementing it now and I'm glad to hear that others are happy with the app.
  • I implemented Cezanne HR in my last role (purely UK based, with c120 employees). Personally, I found it easy to us - plus they are smallish company based in Waterloo and I much preferred their personal service over that of the multinationals (ADP etc).

    Cezanne has function for payroll / payslip (though it is easier if you use their preferred payroll supplier rather than try to integrate from outside), holiday and sickness booking / tracking, document storage, online performance review.

    We didn't use timesheets, so I'm not sure if it has that element.

    I'd implement Cezanne again any time I got the opportunity! (Currently stuck with an American system which does not handle UK holiday very well at all!)
  • Hi Sarah, you may want to look at BrightHR https://www.brighthr.com/ it seems to tick a lot of the boxes you've asked for.
  • Hi Sarah,

    I can't recommend PeopleHR highly enough. I implemented it across our group of companies two years ago and haven't looked back!

    It's intuitive and incredibly easy to use and administer. There are great localisation tools if you require different country/subsidiary settings and the ripple process and reporting capabilities are incredible. It saves hours of time in administration.

    If you want to PM me I would be happy to give you more insight into how we use it.

  • We use PeopleHR. Has the ability for employees to clock in and out using a tablet but also comes with an app. Holidays, sickness can all be recorded with downloadable reports.

    You have the access to upload company documents for all employees to view but also individual documents.
  • In reply to Teresa:

    I have used both People HR and Breathe and although I like Breathe HR I feel People HR is slightly more advanced (i.e. allowing employees to electronically sign things, works with sage payroll). Also People HR provided training videos for staff and proper training for the HR team - we didn't get this with Breathe although we are a charity so get the system for free...
  • In reply to Alys Martin:

    Hi Alys,
    Great to hear that you're getting on so well with the system, I work at Breathe so thank you for the positive feedback.
    Regarding the Bradford Factor, the admin of your account has the ability to turn this functionality on/off. They can do this by going to, Configure > Settings > Change what HR users can see and do > untick 'use bradford factor' > update HR settings.
    Hope this helps :)
  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    4 Jun, 2019 10:27

    In reply to Georgina:

    We don't allow vendors to promote their products... but letting this one stay as it is more 'product support'.
  • In reply to Steve Bridger:

    Thanks Steve, that was my aim!
  • Hi Sarah

    I work for an SME and we have just recently started with BambooHR. It's been absolutely brilliant to use and has the functionality that you are possibly looking for in terms of employees being able to upload documents, view their benefits and book their leave etc.

    Definitely worth a look.

    Kind regards,

  • I really rate Cascade Go, not least due to the low upfront cost if you find down the line your needs change massively.