At the end of March 2023, Paychex informed their customers in the cannabis industry that they will no longer be offering a cannabis-friendly payroll platform. This news is simultaneously a shock to many of the customers, but also an expected move, considering that none of Paychex' large, publicly traded peers have ventured into the cannabis payroll industry.
As customers are scrambling to figure out which system they should consider for their next cannabis-friendly payroll & HRIS platform, we wanted to share an overview of a few options that are deeply entrenched in the industry.
If you need help identifying the right one for your business, the OutSail team can provide a free consultation and recommendations for you:
Evolve is an offshoot from one of the leading resellers of Kronos’ Workforce Ready. Their team has been servicing the Ready platform since before it was bought by Kronos. They differentiate themselves on service and, coupled with their experience, can provide a higher degree of knowledge and availability. They spun off a new division, called Evolve HCM, to service the cannabis industry. The Workforce Ready platform is the most scalable cannabis HCM in the market. However, the platform is not always the most user friendly and there are still some areas where the platform has gaps, including with Learning Management
Wurk is also a Kronos reseller and was the first-to-market in the cannabis space. Due to their early entrance, they have the largest market share in the cannabis HRIS industry. The Kronos technology is well suited for cannabis companies with large hourly workforces and the price point is typically competitive with other leading solutions. The downside with Wurk, however, has been their lack of expertise and resources around service delivery. They don’t know the Kronos platform as well as other resellers which limits their effectiveness around implementation and leads to more ongoing customer support needs.
Green Leaf is a well-established service provider in the cannabis space. They are highly committed to supporting cannabis companies through proper banking, payroll and HR practices and have a strong set of software tools and consulting services to help businesses deliver better employment services. Green Leaf is uniquely capable of delivering 401k and HR consulting services. The Workforce Ready platform is scalable and robust but not the most sleek or user friendly solution.
KayaPush is an up-and-coming leader in the cannabis HR tech space. They started off as an HR & Payroll solution for restaurants with strong integrations to point of sales (PoS) systems, but they discovered an untapped need in cannabis for this offering. Their system is homegrown and fairly user friendly, but it has some limitations both in breadth (missing some modules) and depth (it’s not as configurable as the Kronos resellers).
PeopleGuru is one of the original HRIS and Payroll providers in the cannabis industry and they provide a great deal of market expertise. They can provide a full-suite of HR software tools, while also providing robust tax, compliance and banking services too. The system itself gets average reviews for it’s ease of use due to it not being fully integrated and automated, which can lead to more manual re-entry than businesses expect. Additionally, real time reporting is not always the easiest process.
Paycor offers a full suite of HR tools that can help manage the entire employee lifecycle from hire to retire. Like many HCM companies, Paycor began as a payroll tool, but unlike many of their peers, they also have strong capabilities in performance and recruiting too, due to their acquisitions. Their ATS is one of the strongest ATS natively available in an HRIS. Some challenges with Paycor are that their system isn’t fully unified which can lead to an inconsistent user experience and delays in real-time data for reporting. Additionally, Paycor is relatively new to cannabis, recently launching a new entity, but they cannot manage direct deposit and tax services yet.
Blog: How Much Does Paycor Cost?
Paragon is another well-established payroll provider in the cannabis space. Paragon has built out the banking, payroll and compliance relationships to support cannabis companies, and they resell the iSolved platform for their software. While iSolved may not be a household name yet, but they’ve filled a need by providing a modern end-to-end platform that works for small-to-mid-sized companies. iSolved’s core competencies are around payroll, time & attendance and HRIS, but they’ve recently invested quite a bit in their talent management too. iSolved is one of the less expensive options in the market. The biggest concern with them is that their multiple database architecture doesn’t allow for a seamless admin experience and can affect reporting
Zenefits offers a nearly end-to-end HRIS platform for growing, modern companies. The platform’s user interface is fairly modern and intuitive. There are some modules they don’t offer (LMS and ATS), but they have pre-built integrations with some market leaders in those areas.. A few challenges with Zenefits are that the support can be hit or miss for clients, and the software is not the most scalable option for growing companies. For cannabis companies, Zenefits will support the HRIS needs, but will bring in a partner to cover payroll, leading to a less unified experience
Gusto is a modern leader for companies who are looking for payroll and HR but don’t want to get stuck with the ADP’s and Paychex’ of the world. Gusto offers standard HR and payroll functionality and backs it up with high quality support. They can also provide outsourced HR services for companies that have lean HR teams. The biggest concern with Gusto would be it’s lack of scalability after about 50-75 employees. They don’t currently offer an ATS, performance tools or robust timekeeping tools, so many companies outgrow Gusto early in their growth.