Best Human Resource Software 2021

Justworks vs. Zenefits

Is Justworks or Zenefits the better solution for you? This in-depth, feature-by-feature breakdown will help you decide which human resource tool is the best fit for your business.

Human resource software includes features like payroll, benefits management, and compliance assistance. In today’s digital world, small businesses are adopting human resource software alongside other foundational software systems like document management software and accounting software.

This article will discuss the differences between two of the largest players in this space: Justworks and Zenefits. We’ll discuss the notable strengths and weaknesses of each tool, and provide recommendations for who each tool will suit best.

All of our recommendations are based on firsthand research, product demos with the software companies, and dozens of hours spent hand-testing human resource tools. More details regarding our research process can be found on our human resource category page.

Justworks & Zenefits Comparison Summary

We researched and extensively tested Justworks and Zenefits. Justworks received a SoftwarePundit Analyst Rating of 93, while Zenefits received a 95.

Justworks was rated lower because although it is the second highest rated HR software tool we’ve analyzed, it is more expensive than Zenefits, has limited integrations, and doesn’t support robust performance management features. Zenefits received a higher rating because it offers a similar breadth of features as Justworks with a more affordable price, as well as performance management.

Here’s a breakdown of our review criteria and how Justworks and Zenefits performed in each category.

CriteriaAnalyst RatingFeaturesUsabilityPricingCustomer Support

In terms of pricing, Justworks is less affordable than Zenefits. Justworks’ pricing starts at $49 per month per user. Zenefits’ pricing starts at $10 per month per user.

Both solutions offer the standard features found across human resource software tools. These include payroll, benefits, time tracking, compliance assistance, and custom reports. Justworks strongest points are its compliance assistance and benefits. Zenefits can run background checks and help onboard employees onto your company’s tech stack.

Overall, we recommend Zenefits over Justworks. Justworks offers a plethora of robust HR management features, but the lower price simply makes Zenefits the better choice for small businesses. We do, however, recommend Justworks if you need access to free training courses or live in a state Zenefits does not offer benefits in.

Here’s a quick breakdown of who will prefer each option:

You'll prefer Justworks if:

  • You are in a state that Zenefits does not offer benefits in
  • You want to offer free training courses for your employees
  • You are a newer business in need of a user-friendly HR product

Try Justworks Today

You'll prefer Zenefits if:

  • You are in a state that Zenefits supports benefits in
  • You are in need of an affordable human resource software
  • You want to automate onboarding new hires to your company’s tech stack

Try Zenefits Today

Table of Contents

Justworks & Zenefits Price Comparison

Overall, Justworks is less affordable than Zenefits. Both applications come with payroll and benefits in their base plans.

Justworks Pricing Details

Justworks pricing starts at $49 per month per employee. Pricing is split in two tiers: Basic and Plus. Note that the following plans are for businesses with less than 25 employees. Justworks is around 15% more affordable if you have anywhere between 25 and 99 employees.

Plan NamePrice per Month per EmployeeFeatures
  • Payroll
  • Tax filings
  • Vendor and contractor payments
  • HR consulting
  • Reporting
  • Everything in Basic plan
  • COBRA administration
  • Health advocacy services

Zenefits Pricing Details

Zenefits pricing starts at $10 per month per user. It is one of the more affordable human resource software systems on the market today. Payroll, advisory services, and onboarding your own broker to the platform cost an additional $6, $10, and $5 respectively.


Price per Month per UserFeatures
  • Core HR
  • Time tracking
  • Integrations
  • Everything in Essentials plan
  • Compensation management
  • Performance management
  • Everything in Growth plan
  • Well-being
  • Employee engagement surveys

Justworks & Zenefits Feature Comparison

Overall, both Justworks and Zenefits offer a similar breadth of features. However, both solutions do not offer applicant tracking features such as job posting and distribution.

For a full analysis of each solution’s features, read our Justworks review and Zenefits review.

Job post distributionNoNo
Employee onboardingYesYes (stronger)
Performance managementNoYes
Expense managementYesNo
Time TrackingYesYes
Compliance SupportYes (stronger)Yes
Custom reportsYesYes

Employee Onboarding

Employee onboarding assistance is less feature-rich in Justworks than in Zenefits. Justworks can assist your business with onboarding your employees onto their documents, payroll, and benefits. Zenefits also offers these features, as well as performing background checks and onboarding employees onto software like Slack and Google Workspace.

Zenefits Onboarding Assistance

The basis of onboarding for both software solutions is similar. You can set offer letters, hiring agreements, or any other necessary documents to be automatically sent to your new hire. You can also set up your employee’s payroll and health benefits.

Unlike Justworks, Zenefits can conduct background checks. There are two types of automated background checks you can run on new hires: Standard and Premium. The Premium check expands the Standard check to include all counties of residence in the past seven years. Here are the points covered with Zenefits’ background checks:

SSN National criminal records Sex offender list Address history County criminal records

Another advantage of onboarding in Zenefits over Justworks is its software onboarding support. Zenefits can automatically create accounts or send invitations for the following:

  • Gmail
  • Salesforce
  • Slack
  • Carta
  • Expensify


Both Justworks and Zenefits offer strong, unlimited payroll for full-time, part-time, and contingent employees. We highly recommend Zenefits If your primary concern with HR software is running payroll for an affordable rate. An example of payroll in Zenefits is seen below.

Zenefits Payroll Example

Justworks and Zenefits offer high level views of which employees are being paid in their payroll dashboards. You can drill-down in either application and see individual details regarding their pay.

Both applications also handle federal and state taxes for your payroll. Justworks and Zenefits can calculate, remit, and file the following taxes:

  • W-2
  • 1099
  • 940
  • 941

Both applications also let you run a number of off-cycle payments. Here are some common off-cycle payments you might run if your business uses Justworks or Zenefits:

  • Contractor pay
  • Vendor pay
  • Bonuses
  • Commissions
  • Severance


Benefits are easy to set up in both software solutions. Similar to payroll, we recommend Zenefits over Justworks if your priority is finding an affordable benefits management solution. However, note that Zenefits does not support benefits in Hawaii.

Justworks Benefits

Seen above is Justworks’ benefits dashboard. Managing benefits feels more user-friendly in Justworks. This is particularly advantageous for newer businesses who have little to no experience with choosing benefit plans for their employees.

Still, selecting and managing benefits in both Justworks and Zenefits is a guided process. Both software solutions support common medical, dental, and vision plans. You can also offer employees health care FSAs, HSAs, 401(k)s, and commuter benefits.

Justworks Benefits Overview

One feature that Justworks supports that Zenefits doesn’t is its company benefits overview. You can generate this overview once you’ve selected your company’s benefits. This document lays out your company’s benefit plans to persuade prospective employees to join your company.

Time Tracking

Time tracking in Justworks and Zenefits is similar for salaried employees. You can clock in and out or manually input hours using both applications. Creating paid-time-off (PTO) policies in both solutions is also very user-friendly.

Although you can clock in and out using Justworks, Zenefits comes with a total of four different time reporting methods:

Employee TimekeeperClock in and out through Zenefits’ web or mobile app.
Employee iPad TimekeeperClock in and out through the same iPad device. Best for on-site employees.
Self-Reporting In and OutEmployees self-report their in and out times before the end of their pay period.
Self-Reporting TotalEmployees self-report their total hours before the end of their pay period.
Zenefits Paid Time Off Policy Creator

Creating PTO policies in both applications is a guided process. You can create a multitude of policies including bereavement, jury duty, floating holidays, and more. You can define entitlement, accrual methods, applicability, and restrictions in both software solutions.

Compliance Assistance

Justworks has stronger compliance assistance than Zenefits. This is because in addition to its alerts on new legislation and missing compliance tasks your business must fulfill, Justworks offers a number of free online workplace training courses. This helps your business stay up to date on federal and state compliance for both your company and employees.

Justworks Training Courses

Seen above is Justworks’ training course library. Courses are compliant with the state your company is registered in. Justworks offers these three main courses:

CourseAdditional Notes
Harassment and Discrimination PreventionThis course is available for supervisors and employees. Helps eliminate workplace harassment and discrimination.
Inclusion in the Modern WorkplaceThis is the primary diversity course that Justworks offers. Provides strategies on workplace inclusion.
Managing BiasThis course is primarily designed for employees to educate them on biases and how they affect the workplace.
Zenefits Compliance Checklist

Zenefits assists with compliance through its deadlines dashboard. This is similar to Gusto’s compliance checklist. This dashboard is an effective way to quickly view which tasks need completion from your company.


Creating and accessing reports in Justworks and Zenefits is similar. Both applications come with a number of helpful reports to access for high level views of your company and employees. However, you cannot preview reports when creating them. Because of this, we recommend Gusto over both Justworks and Zenefits if having a user-friendly report creator is an absolute must for your company.

Justworks Report Creator

Both come with a number of pre-made reports, including:

  • Headcount
  • Benefits usage
  • Payroll
  • 1099 report
  • PTO balances


Justworks and Zenefits both offer a number of popular integrations found in standard human resource software. Both solutions primarily integrate with accounting, field service management, on_current="true" url="/document-management"document management, and integration software. Here are some of the most popular native integrations both solutions offer:

Software SolutionIntegrations

Bottom Line

Overall, we recommend Zenefits over Justworks. Justworks offers a plethora of robust HR management features, but the lower price simply makes Zenefits the better choice for small businesses. We do, however, recommend Justworks if you need access to free training courses or live in a state Zenefits does not offer benefits in.

If you’re interested, visit Justworks or Zenefits today to get started.

Yousef Fatehpour

Yousef Fatehpour is a Junior Research Analyst at SoftwarePundit. He graduated from University of California, San Diego, where he studied Human Centered Design and Communications. His work at UCSD's Design Lab emphasized UX research and product management.

Yousef's primary areas of interest are software design, user journeys, and how user experience is handled across software markets. Yousef also has experience in product design and multimedia content production. You can connect with Yousef on LinkedIn.

Yousef is an expert in several software categories including:

  • SMS marketing software
  • Document management software
  • Human resource software
  • Applicant tracking software
  • Design software

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