Best Human Resource Software 2021

Zenefits vs. ADP RUN

Is Zenefits or ADP RUN 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. It is one of the most critical software tools 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: Zenefits and ADP RUN. 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 first-hand 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.

Zenefits & ADP RUN Comparison Summary

We researched and extensively tested both Zenefits and ADP RUN. Zenefits received a SoftwarePundit Analyst Rating of 95 while ADP RUN received a rating of 83.

Zenefits was rated higher because its onboarding assistance, payroll, time tracking, and performance management all help small businesses carry out essential tasks for their company and employees more effectively than ADP RUN. Zenefits received the highest rating in the human resource category.

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

CriteriaAnalyst RatingFeaturesUsabilityPricingCustomer Support
ADP RUN8388.588.5

Zenefits’s pricing is transparent while ADP RUN’s is not. Zenefits's pricing starts at $10 per user per month. ADP RUN’s pricing is ambiguous and not listed on their website.

Both solutions offer essential features found across human resource software tools. These include payroll, benefits, onboarding, time tracking, and custom reports. Zenefits’s strongest points are its onboarding and time tracking. ADP RUN offers business insurance and robust custom report creation.

Overall, we recommend Zenefits over ADP RUN for small businesses. Zenefits is simultaneously more accessible and more robust than ADP RUN. Additionally, ADP RUN lacks features like performance management and offers far more limited time tracking capabilities. Many of the features ADP RUN does support are easier to set up and run in Zenefits.

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

You'll prefer Zenefits if:

  • Zenefits supports benefits management in your state
  • You want a more affordable payroll and benefits solution
  • You require compliance assistance and performance management features

Try Zenefits Today

You'll prefer ADP RUN if:

  • You want to create customizable reports for employee and company analysis
  • You require onboarding assistance for new hires and payroll
  • You want to purchase business coverage services such as general liability insurance

Try ADP RUN Today

Table of Contents

Zenefits & ADP RUN Price Comparison

Zenefits’s pricing is affordable relative to competitors like Justworks. ADP RUN’s pricing is ambiguous and not available to the general public.

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

ADP RUN Pricing Details

ADP RUN’s pricing is ambiguous and not stated transparently on the company’s site. Four plans are available with varying degrees of features offered. Note that your company’s employee count, frequency of ADP RUN use, and feature needs will be important factors in pricing.


  • Payroll on multiple devices
  • Direct deposit
  • Onboarding
  • Everything in Essential plan
  • Ziprecruiter integration
  • Background checks
  • Everything in Enhanced plan
  • HR tracking
  • HR helpdesk support
HR Pro
  • Everything in Complete plan
  • Access to HR businesses
  • Employer and employee training

Zenefits & ADP RUN Feature Comparison

Overall, Zenefits has a wider breadth of features than ADP RUN. 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 Zenefits review and ADP RUN review.

FeatureZenefitsADP RUN
Job posting distributionNoNo
Employee onboardingYes (stronger)Yes
Performance managementYesNo
Expense managementNoNo
Time TrackingYes (stronger)Yes
Compliance SupportYesNo
Custom reportsYesYes


We recommend Zenefits over ADP RUN if running unlimited payroll is a determining factor for you. Additionally consider Gusto if you’re in need of an affordable payroll solution.

Both Zenefits and ADP RUN offer strong, unlimited payroll for full-time, part-time, and contingent employees. However, Zenefits’ payroll is more user-friendly than it is in ADP RUN.

ADP RUN Payroll Example

Zenefits and ADP RUN offer high-level views of the employees being paid in their payroll dashboards. Both applications also handle federal and state taxes for your payroll. Zenefits and ADP RUN can calculate, remit, and file the following tax documents:

  • 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 Zenefits or ADP RUN:

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

Employee Onboarding

Zenefits’ onboarding is its strongest feature. Onboarding in ADP RUN is far more limited. Because ADP RUN is primarily a payroll tool, many of the onboarding processes involve employee’s payroll and earnings. Zenefits allows you to create software accounts for new hires, onboard employees on payroll and benefits, and even run background checks for new hires.

ADP RUN Onboarding

Onboarding in ADP RUN is seen above. ADP RUN assists you with seven steps when onboarding new employees:

  • Employee info
  • Employment info
  • Tax info
  • Payroll info
  • Earnings deductions
  • Garnishments
  • Direct deposit

ADP RUN does not assist you with onboarding outside of these steps. Zenefits can assist you with onboarding payroll and benefits, as well as sending offer letters, hiring agreements, and company handbooks to be sent to new hires. This is similar to Gusto and Justworks.

Zenefits Onboarding

Zenefits can also conduct background checks, unlike ADP RUN. You can run Standard and Premium checks. The Premium check expands the Standard check to include all counties of residence in the past seven years.

Finally, Zenefits can automatically create accounts or send invitations for common software your company uses. Zenefits can onboard new hires for the following software solutions:


We recommend that small businesses use Zenefits to manage their benefits due to its accessible interface. However, Zenefits supports benefits in all states except Hawaii. It also does not assist with purchasing business insurance. If Zenefits does not support your state, consider Justworks. If you would like business coverage, choose ADP RUN.

Zenefits Benefits Guidance

Tracking and selecting benefits in Zenefits is more user-friendly than ADP RUN. However, we do recommend newer businesses consider Gusto if they’re new to benefits selection. This is because Gusto very clearly provides plans with average costs for each.

Both Zenefits and ADP RUN support common medical, dental, and vision plans. You can also offer employees health care FSAs, HSAs, 401(k)s, and commuter benefits.

ADP RUN comes with the unique feature of business insurance management. This allows you to select insurance plans for your business. Common business coverage services that ADP RUN offers include:

Coverage PlanDescription
General LiabilityGeneral liability protects you from risks that arise from your business operations, such as injury or property.
Umbrella InsuranceThis type of insurance covers more catastrophic losses that general liability cannot cover.
Commercial Auto InsuranceThis insurance protects your business against costs resulting from business-related auto accidents.
ADP RUN Benefits

Time Tracking

Time tracking in Zenefits is more powerful than ADP RUN. You can clock in with Zenefits as well as create paid-time-off (PTO) policies, while ADP RUN only supports barebones time tracking features.

Zenefits Time Tracking Clock

Zenefits allows you to create unlimited PTO policies that suit the needs of your employees. ADP RUN does not support custom PTO policy creation at all. Additionally, Zenefits offers a number of pre-made PTO policies that you can further customize to suit your company.

Time tracking in ADP RUN is handled through its Timekeeping add-on. This add-on brings additional, yet basic time tracking features similar to Sage HR and BambooHR.

ADP RUN Time Tracking Clock


Creating and accessing reports in Zenefits is less user-friendly than in ADP RUN. Custom report creation is one of ADP RUN’s strongest features. You can select from a variety of statistics to include in your report as well as preview reports before exporting them.

ADP RUN Report

Custom report creation in ADP RUN is seen above. We likened ADP RUN’s custom report creator to other robust solutions like Gusto and Zoho People.

Finally, both applications come with a number of pre-made reports, including:

  • Benefits usage
  • Deduction summary
  • Payroll
  • PTO balances
  • W-2 preview


Zenefits and ADP RUN both offer a number of popular integrations found in standard human resource software. Both solutions primarily integrate with accounting, document management, field service 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 ADP RUN for small businesses. Zenefits is simultaneously more accessible and more robust than ADP RUN. Additionally, ADP RUN lacks features like performance management and offers far more limited time tracking capabilities. Many of the features ADP RUN does support are easier to set up and run in Zenefits.

If you’re interested, visit Zenefits or ADP RUN 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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