Workday is one of the leading platforms in the HRIS market today, but not every company is a perfect fit for what they offer.
When mid-market companies evaluate Workday, they often find that the solution is too robust, too expensive and too challenging to maintain. This leads them to seek out alternatives.
Below is a list of the main Workday alternatives and what alternative strengths they can provide:
These four companies are the biggest players in the mid-market HRIS space. They are all large, public companies with a long history in the payroll industry. They all have tens of thousands of customers and thousands of employees. Additionally, they all serve the mid-market and can provide an all-in-one solution from hire-to-retire.
Paylocity has steadily become one of the most popular HRIS & Payroll solutions in the mid-market. Their system started off as a payroll engine, but has added quite a bit of HR and Talent Management functionality over the years. Paylocity continues to acquire leading platforms, including a global payroll partner, as they try to serve larger and more complex organizations.
ADP rarely needs an introduction. Their flagship HRIS is Workforce Now, which is geared towards the 50-1,000 employee segment. Workforce Now builds off of ADP's strong payroll heritage and can provide a scalable, all-in-one offering for any industry covering all needs from recruiting and onboarding to performance, comp and succession. One big differentiator for ADP is their comprehensive services, which allow companies to outsource a variety of back-office tasks from benefits enrollment and reconciliations to new state registrations and compliance management
Paycom is often compared against Paylocity and there are some large differences in the two companies' philosophies. Paycom is a closed ecosystem and every module in their platform has been built internally which leads to a more unified system and less manual re-entry from admins. This can contrast with Paylocity's open architecture which can lead to some module-to-module clunkiness, but also an easier time integrating with 3rd parties
Paycor is the most recent company of this group to go public and has taken a growth-by-acquisition strategy. This has led Paycor to acquire a leading ATS tool in Newton and a leading performance and engagement platform in 7Geese. These tools allow Paycor to offer the most advanced talent management functionality in the mid-market, but can also lead to a less unified experience from an admin perspective.
These two solutions are all founded in the 2010s and offer users a more modern user interface and employee experience. Because these solutions are cloud-native, they are also built with open integrations at the core of their offerings. However, these systems generally can't offer all of the functionality that one expects from a Workday-type solution and may not be configurable enough for growing companies
Rippling is the newest name in this group and the fastest growing too. Rippling has brought to market a few things that no one else can match at this point, including their no-code automation capabilities, their integration marketplace and their IT management tools which allow for device and app management from your HRIS. Rippling's functionality is still developing and they cannot offer performance, engagement or a robust timekeeping system at this time.
BambooHR has been one of the darlings of the HRIS industry for the last decade. They provide cost-effective, user friendly software that drastically simplifies HR management for companies in nearly every industry. Bamboo's product offers a wide degree of breadth including recruiting, performance management and employee engagement, but some of their modules are limited in how configurable they are. Additionally, Bamboo's payroll is provided by a 3rd party which they own, called Trax, and doesn't have a benefits admin module.
These two companies are less well-known in the mid-market but each one has a full suite HRIS platform and a growing customer base. Although these companies don't have the R&D budgets that Workday has, they still provide very solid technology solutions that emphasize different strengths. However, the real difference with these companies is the service model, which is much more handheld, personalized and responsive than working with the large, public providers.
PrimePay is a support–driven organization that can offer a support model with fewer layers and more personalization. PrimePay acquired SyncHR’s HRIS platform in 2021 and can offer a modern architecture that is flexible and open to integrations. SyncHR's technology is especially dynamic around org charts, reporting and budgeting. The platform covers the entire lifecycle, but some of the system is provided by 3rd parties, rather than being fully built internally.
Proliant has a few verticals that they are particularly well suited for, and they have some differentiated features that can make hiring and paying hourly employees easier on businesses. Proliant clients experience a higher level of service than they would tend to get from one of the large, national competitors, and that service extends to tax support which Proliant is strong in. The user experience with Proliant isn't as seamless as it is with more modern or more unified competitors
More Scalable Alternatives
These two companies are similar to Workday in that they can provide all-in-one HRIS functionality to cover the hire-to-retire lifecycle. However, these companies are much more scalable than the rest of the mid-market options in this article, which means the system can configure to your team's needs and workflows more easily. The flip side of this scalability is that these systems can take more effort to administer and can be more costly.
UKG is one of the most well-known companies in the HRIS industry and provides an all-in-one system that caters to every member of the HR department. UKG can provide strong Core HR management, leveraging Kronos's timekeeping tools, while also providing leading talent management tools that make recruiting, performance reviews and employee engagement easier to administer. UKG can be one of the more premium priced options in the market, however.
Ceridian offers very advanced and unified Core HR tools that allow companies with complex workforce management needs to easily track time and pay employees. Ceridian has one of the most unified product architectures which can lead to more accuracy and more speed when it comes to calculating pay, making employee changes and creating reports. The system can take longer than any on this list to implement, however.