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Top 5 Free and Open-Source HR Systems

December 19, 2017

As your up-and-coming brand rifles through fancy technology designed to assist sales, marketing, and development teams, it’s easy to forget about human resources.

You know: the patient, multitasking masters juggling endless information and keeping the whole thing from crashing down.

Whether the HR department is working through potential hires, drafting and filing legal documents, scheduling office events, or mediating high-level communications for executives, their work is never done and never anything less than crucial.

Without them, the other employees wouldn’t even have jobs, let alone be properly trained and in-the-know about company happenings. With that being said, the HR team can greatly benefit from new software just like the rest of the crowd — if not more so!

Global vendors are answering the call with tools to handle any and all common HR tasks. Many of these products also happen to be open source and free of charge, at least for a trial or limited version. These tools are an ideal way to improve your HR abilities and make the lives of your team a smidge easier, without breaking the bank or sidelining your other company purchases.

Top 5 free and open-source HR software options

The top-rated open-source and free HR software, according to G2 reviewers, are as follows.


G2 Crowd Star Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars
Reviews: 75
How free? Up to five employees

Claiming to be used by 18,000 companies across 196 countries — despite the fact there are only be 195 countries in the world — WebHR has an undeniably strong presence on the market. It’s an all-in-one HR solution with compatibility across 30 languages, and its 4.2-star rating on our site after 70-plus reviews proves that it’s not all talk. Even though the company could maybe use a new map...

Categories: HR Management Suites, Core HR, Payroll, Workforce Management, Time Tracking, Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

All-star review

“The best aspect by far is the sheer amount of features available, including a multitude of reports, recruiting/jobs portal, easy-to-manage attendance sheets, and the option to use one website to manage multiple companies and locations.

The customer support has been exceptional as well. Responses through the live chat are always quick, typically less than 2 minutes, and answer my questions specifically and accurately. They have also added a number of customized features to better fit our organizational needs, and done so within days of the request.”

WebHR review from Neal B.

Browse WebHR user reviews →

Staff Squared

G2 Crowd Star Rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars
Reviews: 20
How free? 14-day trial

One of the few Core HR platforms with a perfect rating from G2 reviewers — as of this article, of course — this U.K.-based software is a great solution for an HR team on a budget with its long trial period. Beyond the free trial, it’s only $4.50 per person per month (or 3 pounds for businesses in its native U.K.). On top of the great reviews on our site, you can read user testimonials on the Staff Squared website.

Categories: Core HR, Expense Management, Time Tracking

All-star review

“We use this to keep all of our HR information and documents in one place. We tried some other apps but they just were not as user friendly, nor were they as well supported. The Staff Squared team have been so lovely working with us to make getting on boarded a simple process.” — Staff Squared review from Brandon J.

Is Staff Squared right for you?  Read Reviews Now, FREE →


G2 Crowd Star Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars
Reviews: 50
How free? Free payroll tool for up to 20 employees (Rise Lite), and free demo available for full version

Rise offers two solutions on its website: The main platform, a robust hybrid core HR and payroll platform — with a free demo available — and a more basic payroll tool that is entirely free for small teams. Reviews of the software are generally very favorable, with the payroll features in particular receiving superlative feedback. Clients include Hilton and Starbucks, so new users are in good company when deploying Rise in their business.

Categories: Core HR, Time Tracking

All-star review

“From the sales demo, to the on-boarding, everything went amazingly smooth and seamlessly. Moving payroll over to another company would seem daunting; however, not with Rise's amazing on-boarding. Hub/Time Off is super easy to use and requires little, if any change management. Rise's payroll system is a lot more modern than ADP's.” — Rise review from Yuzo N.

Is Rise right for you?  Read Reviews Now, FREE →

People HR

G2 Crowd Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Reviews: 35
How free? Free trial

With a diverse platform and a welcoming, scalable pricing plan (after the free trial, of course), People HR is a great long-term solution for basic HR tasks and then some. The software also offers performance management features that help monitor and improve staff performance — an immensely valuable task for a company at any size or budget. People HR offers a four-minute video tour of the product, which is a neat and cost-free way to explore the possibilities of the platform.

Categories: HR Management Suites, Core HR, Workforce Management, Performance Management, Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

All-star review

“The system is so easy to set up and use. It's really intuitive and even some of the quirky features we need for our business have been easy to set up and accommodate in PeopleHR.

You really can have the system up and running in a very quick amount of time.

We are trying to have as many single sources of information in our business as possible, so integration is the key for us to save unnecessary admin effort moving forward. So, the fact that we can design and publish our own customizable API's is just an amazing feature.” — People HR review from Ian L.

Browse People HR user reviews →


G2 Crowd Star Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars
Reviews: 33
How free? All the way free

GoCo is a free. As in, free-free. The fact that it’s also a High Performer on G2 Crowd with 4.5 stars shows that it’s way more than just a gimmick. Toss in the product’s numerous functionalities, as well as integrations with Slack and many of the top payroll tools on the market, and GoCo truly stands out in the pack of HR technology.

Categories: HR Management Suites, Core HR, Performance Management, Benefits Administration

All-star review

“The on-boarding features are amazing! I also love that it connects with our benefits sites so I don't have to maintain information in multiple places. This is so user-friendly, and the support staff are available and willing to make changes based on feedback.” — GoCo review from a G2 Crowd user

Browse GoCo user reviews →

These are not the only free and open-source HR tools on the market, but the ones most trusted and enjoyed by G2 Crowd’s million-plus monthly visitors. If considering an HR management suite, core HR platform, talent management tool, or some combination of all three, do a fair amount of research on the market and the plethora of options at your disposable.

Don’t hesitate to test out these or other HR systems that offer a trial or demo version. More and more, you can get a robust HR product at little or no cost without sacrificing quality or features.

If you wind up dishing out some dough for your HR team’s software, remember: They’re well worth it!

Looking for additional free HR software?

Find the best Electronic Signature Software. Explore now, FREE →

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