HR Software

The Most Budget-Friendly HR Software Platforms for a Recession

February 15, 2021
Brett Ungashick

As our economy heads into a recession, it can be an important time for businesses to analyze their software spend. Finding a solution that can do what you need it to, without the inflated price tag, can help your dollar go further in 2022. Here are some of the most budget-friendly options in the HR software market today:

2022 has seen inflation early in the year and a federal reserve response to raise interest rates. This has had the effect of cooling the economy and leading us to a recessionary environment where growth has been negative the last two quarters.

Companies always try to tighten their belts when entering a recession, and one way to get costs under control is to opt for more budget-friendly and cost-effective software platforms.

Many HR leaders will see their budgets flat line or shrink in 2022, so they will need to make strong, cost-effective software decisions as they build their HR software toolset.

Below are some of the most cost-effective solutions in the HR technology space. Note: cost-effective does not mean lowest price, but instead is looking for the best combination of ROI and competitive price.

Learn More: Request a vendor report to see the best HRIS matches for your team


For companies that do not have an ATS in place, the amount of manual tracking that HR leaders have to manage in a recruitment process can become unbearable. They often have to check email aliases for new candidates, track the interview stages in a spreadsheet and build offer letters from scratch.

JazzHR offers a modern, full-featured ATS platform for less than $500 / month. For that price, employers can have: their jobs distributed throughout the web, simple candidate tracking, automated communication to candidates and hiring managers and digital offer letters.

Want more info on these HRIS vendors? Talk to an advisor with firsthand experience

SMB HRIS: Netchex

One of the biggest shifts that we've seen in the HRIS market lately is companies opting to pursue options with better service reputations. The Great Resignation has led to a wave of resignations in the service industry and this has particularly impacted the large, public payroll companies -- Paylocity, ADP, Paycor, Paycom, Paychex, etc.

However, boutique HRIS vendors, such as Netchex, have seen higher retention leading to more satisfying implementation experiences for customers. On top of their service model advantage, Netchex offers their payroll, time, benefits and HR platform for 20-30% less than some of their big box competition.

Blog: How Long Does it Take To Buy and Implement an HRIS

Mid-Market HRIS: Kronos (now UKG Ready)

For mid-sized companies, it can be an effective cost-saving strategy to bundle as much of your HR tech needs into one platform as possible. UKG Ready (formerly known as Kronos) is an all-in-one HRIS system that allows companies to do just that.

However, those familiar with UKG Pro's (formerly known as UltiPro) pricing will be surprised to learn that the UKG Ready platform is actually a tremendous value. Despite being a full suite system and offering very robust workforce management capabilities, UKG Ready is often the least expensive mid-market HRIS option on the market.

Free Tool: HRIS Requirements Builder

Enterprise HRIS: Ceridian

For companies with enterprise needs out of their HRIS system (global capabilities, high degree of configurability, security & permissions, etc.), the options can be very expensive. SAP, Oracle and Workday tend to be the most common options for businesses and all of those can come with significant software fees and even more expensive consulting fees to implement and launch the platform.

Ceridian can not only be more cost-effective than those other options when it comes to software fees, but they have also started offering a high degree of flexibility when it comes to their implementation costs, including the option to spread those costs out over 24 months.

Shopping for an HRIS? Work with an HRIS advisor to streamline your shortlisting, evaluations and selection - for free!

Culture: Hibob

For modern employers, it's not enough to have an HR system that tracks and automates HR workflows. Modern companies are looking for tools that will help them understand and engage with their culture in meaningful ways that can drive longer tenures and happier employees.

In the past few years, there have been a lot of innovations in this area, with new companies creating smart, easy-to-use tools across: performance management, employee engagement, surveys, peer-to-peer recognition, and more. However, investing in a standalone tool for each area of need can get expensive quickly.

Thankfully, Hibob has gone the furthest in bundling these employee-centric tools into a modern HRIS. Hibob can be a true system of record complete with onboarding and time & attendance modules, but they really differentiate by putting employee engagement and development at the heart of their platform.

Blog: How to Negotiate an HRIS Agreement

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Brett Ungashick
Brett is the founder of OutSail. He spent the early part of his career selling HR software before switching sides and going to work for the people buying the software.

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