Namely and Zenefits are both cloud-based HR software programs that manage HRIS data and processes—like employee records, benefits enrollment, labor law compliance, and payroll. While Zenefits is generally more affordable and easier to set up, Namely is a bit more customizable. Both provide an HR portal and mobile app for employee self-service.
When to Use Zenefits
Zenefits is best for a small business (1 to 200 employees) that has one person managing most of the human resources (HR) functions. Because it’s modular, you can start with HR for as low as $5 per employee, per month, and then add features as you need them (for example, benefits administration, payroll processing, or HR and payroll consulting). Zenefits offers a fully interactive demo that’s free to use.
When to Use Namely
Namely is best for slightly larger firms (200 employees or more), businesses in regulated industries, or growing companies with more than one person managing HR. That may include organizations struggling to manage people and compliance issues. That’s because Namely has more segregation of duties, roles, and customizations. However, its pricing isn’t available without a quote, and it costs more than Zenefits.
When to Use an Alternative HR Software
Smaller companies with 50 or fewer employees may find Gusto to be a great human resources information system (HRIS) alternative at a lower price point than either Namely or Zenefits. Of course, it doesn’t have all the HR features that Namely or Zenefits provide, such as performance reviews. Gusto processes payroll in all 50 states, offers health insurance and employee benefits in 26 states, and provides a great user interface with employee self-service. And, it can be set up in one day. With Gusto, you get your first payroll free.
Namely vs Zenefits at a Glance
|Pricing Starts at:||≅ $12-$30/month per|
employee, plus $50-$100
in setup fees
|$10/month per employee, |
no setup fees
(includes ACA-compliant health insurance)
|✔ via 3rd-party insurance carriers||✔ via Zenefits Broker partners|
|Payroll||✔||+$6/month per employee|
|Time & Attendance||✔||✔|
|Performance Management||✔||+$8/month per employee|
|HR & Payroll Consulting||Via Managed Services (extra cost)||+$10/month per employee|
HR tech stack
|Salesforce, Office 365,|
Slack, Google, Expensify &
|Ease of Use||✔||✔|
|More Information||Visit Namely||Visit Zenefits|
*Estimates are based on third-party data. Your pricing may vary significantly.
**Pricing is transparent and you can save up to 25% with an annual contract.
How We Evaluated Namely vs Zenefits
To support small business HR needs, we took a look at how these two web-based HR software packages compare to one another. We considered all the features a small business might need as they grow, such as compliance and reporting as well as how easy the HR software is to set up and use.
Based on small business HR needs, the criteria we used to evaluate Namely and Zenefits were:
- Price: Both vendors are priced by employee headcount and the exact features you need, allowing you to add on services (at extra cost) as your business grows.
- Ease of setup and use: Both provide a modern user interface and expert support to help you configure your software for your business and industry.
- HR portal: Both have an HR portal, mobile apps, and employee self-service tools.
- Reporting analytics: Both offer basic reports with upgrades to obtain more advanced business analytics.
- Labor law compliance: Both are labor law compliant and can support your ACA healthcare needs as well as EEO and other required reporting across all 50 U.S. states.
- Additional HR add-ons: Both offer add-on features like performance reviews.
- Interfaces: Both interface with third-party vendors either via API or a custom HR stack.
- Consulting support: Both offer a means to obtain HR expertise and consulting support.
Based on the combination of features, we recommend Zenefits as the better choice for smaller businesses (1 to 200 employees) with only one person managing HR—such as the business owner or the payroll manager. That’s because Zenefits makes it easy to set up your HR system quickly, and most of the HR features are available starting as low as $10 per employee, per month. Get a free demo of Zenefits.
Namely vs Zenefits: Pricing & Features
Zenefits and Namely are quite similar in their software and service offerings. They both offer an HR-compliant database, org charts, employee directory, onboarding, an HR portal, and mobile apps. Both allow you to add on benefits administration, payroll processing, and performance reviews. However, Zenefits pricing is transparent, and Namely’s pricing is not.
Namely Pricing & Features
Namely pricing estimates were gathered from third-party sources that indicated that in addition to a setup fee that may range from $50 to $100 or more, they also charge a monthly per employee fee in the range of $12 to $30 per month, depending on the features you sign up for. One source reported that they also bill as much as six months in advance.
Here are the kinds of features Namely provides:
Like Zenefits, Namely includes an employee self-service portal, a mobile app, org charts, and a social news feed within its HR software. Employees can view and update their profiles, request time off, and view their compensation and benefits online. The employee database gives you a centralized record of employee information with customizable data fields that help you track information unique to your workers or industry.
If you have more than one administrator working in the system, its field auditing feature will let you know exactly who made a data change and when. Another feature it adds over Zenefits is that it provides a built-in company calendar that can manage key events and employee birthdays. In contrast, Zenefits provides native integration with the calendar apps you’re likely already using.
The benefits offered by Namely’s third-party providers include the same kinds of medical and insurance plans that Zenefits provides. They also both have newer offerings like employee wellness and commuter benefits. What Namely adds are retirement benefits in terms of a 401(k), accident and critical illness insurance, and non-traditional benefits including identity theft and pet insurance.
Similar to Zenefits, Namely provides full-service payroll with all your HR data in sync. It can handle year-end W-2s and 1099s while filing federal, state, and local taxes for you. That’s similar to what most payroll services offer. And just like Zenefits, it provides seamless timekeeping integration. Frankly, from a payroll processing point of view, there’s not much difference between Namely and Zenefits.
Labor Law Compliance & Expertise
Namely’s software is labor law compliant, and they provide a library of resources as well as a blog and a robust user community with HR expertise. When you sign up with Namely, they’ll provide you with compliance support. However, they offer a Managed Services tier that Zenefits doesn’t provide, which brings them closer to a professional employer organization (PEO) without the co-employment commitment.
Namely’s Managed Service gives you:
- Administration support: Experts will build your templates and workflows.
- Payroll administration: It will run your payroll and reports.
- Benefits administration: Experts manage employee benefits enrollment and eligibility.
- HR guidance: Namely will provide expertise to manage complex HR issues.
- HR templates: You’ll get handbooks, job descriptions, review forms, and policies.
- Employee service center: Their staff will answer your employees’ questions.
- Employment verification: Their staff will respond to job verification requests and help with unemployment claims.
Whereas Zenefits refers to performance reviews as performance management, Namely calls it talent management. However, the offerings are similar. What Namely provides is goal setting, performance reviews, task tracking, and competencies. They also add ongoing feedback options with custom surveys you can send to your team and peer feedback shared through the HR software.
Time & Attendance
Namely provides tools that can help you build work schedules and track employee time. It integrates with physical time clocks. It also works on a mobile app providing online time tracking and ensures employees are on the job site with geo-fenced locations. Attendance and overtime data are passed to payroll, where you’ll be able to view reports through a dashboard.
Reporting & Interfaces
Namely provides a reporting engine that lets you access standard reports or customize your own. The reports you get are based on the modules you subscribe to. In addition, it offers an API so that you can interface it with features or vendors like an applicant tracking system, as Namely doesn’t offer that in its HR software.
Zenefits Pricing & Features
Compared to Namely, where you need to contact Sales for a quote, Zenefits pricing is completely transparent, and they offer pricing discounts up to 25% if you sign up for an annual account. Pricing is posted on Zenefits’ website and starts as low as $5 per employee, per month, along with a $40 monthly service fee.
Zenefits Pricing Table
|Pricing||$10/month per employee|
(Benefits providers and insurance premiums cost extra)
|Payroll||+$6/month per employee|
|Time & Attendance||Included|
|Performance Management||+$8/month per employee|
|HR & Payroll Consulting||+$10/month per employee|
With Zenefits, you can pick and choose the add-on services you need separately. For example, if you’re using Gusto or QuickBooks for payroll, you wouldn’t need to add Zenefit’s payroll service app and would be able to interface to your existing payroll data instead.
Here are some of the features you get with Zenefits:
Zenefits provides all the HR data in an integrated software tool that includes an employee self-service portal, an HR dashboard, and mobile apps. There’s an online employee directory and a dynamic org chart. Employees can onboard themselves (e-signature and paperless), request time off, and view important employee documents.
With Zenefits, you can even set up workflows to manage common HR processes such as tasks that need to be completed for promotions or terminations.
Zenefits was built around its benefits offerings. They can provide even the smallest of employers with benefits like ACA-compliant health insurance as well as commuter benefits. They offer dental, vision, flexible spending accounts, and health savings accounts as well as life and disability insurance. Best of all, these plans are available in all 50 states and fully integrated into Zenefits HRIS software. That provides a one-stop shop for you and your employees. No more having to log into separate provider websites to manage health insurance for your staff.
In addition, due to a recent partnership with Thrive Global, Zenefits offers well-being services to help support healthy behaviors and reduce workplace stress. The only thing Zenefits doesn’t currently offer are retirement plans like a 401(k), although that can be added using an API.
Zenefits offers payroll processing in compliance with payroll rules across all 50 U.S. states, such as unique overtime rules in California and sick leave accruals now required in several states. New hire payroll is automatically prorated based on their start date, and your entire payroll can be done in as few as three clicks. Similar to Namely, payroll taxes, W-2s, and new hire reports are included. Like Namely, Zenefits also provides contract employee payments with year-end 1099 forms.
In addition, if you’re currently using another payroll software, like Gusto, Zenefits offers easy integration and data sync so that you can automate most of your payroll work. To be sure that what you’re paying employees is fair and market-based, Zenefits offers a full suite of compensation planning tools too.
Labor Law Compliance & Expertise
With Zenefits, you get access to resources. Its HRIS software is labor law compliant. In addition, there’s an HR library, sample forms and templates, training videos on HR, and an employee handbook builder. You’ll also get state-specific HR news alerts as well as important compliance deadlines to help you stay abreast of changes that impact your business and your workforce.
However, if you have a consulting question about an HR or payroll issue that’s not software-related, you’ll need to upgrade to their consulting services. That is a significant upcharge that costs an additional $8 to $16 per employee, per month. Often a better option is to obtain your consulting from a third-party HR consulting service like Bambee, which starts at only $99 per month, or sign up for an HR.com membership that’s priced similarly.
Zenefits provides performance management that’s more traditional in terms of offering standard review cycles, goal management, and feedback ratings. It also offers fresh features that improve manager and employee collaboration and organizational alignment, such as shared agendas and action items to support more frequent and productive one-on-one employee and manager meetings.
Time & Attendance
Tracking time worked for hourly employees requires the Zenefits Time & Attendance add-on. Employees can clock in and out using a mobile app. In turn, you can view a dashboard to see who’s clocked in, as well as view deadlines and manage time worked based on project codes.
Time off tracking, including time off requests and approvals, are fully integrated with Zenefits payroll app. It’s done electronically using employee self-service, manager approvals, and workflows, and can be integrated with commonly used business calendars like Google, iCal, and Outlook. Zenefits further provides prebuilt time off policies that you can customize.
Reporting & Interfaces
Zenefits provides what they refer to as Business Intelligence Reports. Examples include reports by location, department, employment status, and other criteria. However, it’s not just reports. It’s interactive charts that let you view everything from headcount to turnover data. You can have customized reports that include real-time data (updated each time you make a change to the system, such as hire a new employee or change the minimum wage).
Namely vs Zenefits: Ease of Use
Namely and Zenefits are both easy to use once you’ve got them set up and configured. However, Namely, being more customizable, also takes longer to configure—weeks, in fact. And, they’ll charge you an implementation fee. Further, you’ll have to configure your own software integrations using their Namely Connect Marketplace HR stack.
Zenefits, on the other hand, is designed to be more plug-and-play, with common interfaces already available to business tools like G-Suite, Slack, and QuickBooks Online.
Namely Ease of Use
Once set up, Namely is easy to use—for both administrators and employees. It has an HR portal and a top-rated mobile app available for iOS and Android. In fact, having a tool that employees enjoy using is a time-saver, as workers can find their own information (e.g., org chart, pay stub, benefits provider) without having to contact you as often.
Zenefits Ease of Use
Zenefits offers the same modern user interface experience as Namely does. More importantly, it can be set up much quicker (days rather than weeks) than Namely. There’s no implementation or setup fee. They import your data, help you configure your dashboard, and educate you on using their intuitive software and mobile app.
Namely vs Zenefits: Customer Service
Namely’s customer service is superior to Zenefits because they provide a dedicated resource for your account, and Namely offers a Managed Service tier. Zenefits, in contrast, provides a ticket-based support model that may result in inconsistent help based on the experience level of the CSR who responds. In addition, if you want consulting help for HR or payroll, that’s an extra charge with Zenefits, whereas it’s included in the per employee pricing with Namely.
Namely Customer Service
Namely provides dedicated customer service. In addition, they have an active user community. According to the service level agreement, Namely provides customer support weekdays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. That may be an issue if you’re in a restaurant, retail, or service environment that works around the clock.
Zenefits Customer Service
Zenefits customer service is provided via website request 24/7. They also offer a help center and training courses to support all of their apps. However, if you’re looking for expertise and advice in HR or payroll, that’s a consulting service they provide over and above general customer services support. Of course, it costs extra—but if you’re an HR department of one, or managing HR and payroll without an HR rep on staff, those services are invaluable.
Namely vs Zenefits: Customer Reviews
Both Namely and Zenefits get solid reviews from users. We’ve found more small business owners leave feedback on our reviews site about Zenefits than they do Namely, indicating to us that Zenefits is the more popular choice for smaller businesses, our primary readers.
Namely Customer Reviews
Namely reviews hover around 4 out of 5 stars. What reviewers like best is its customer service. What they like least is the price. And some have concerns about interface data not always being in sync. Here’s what they say our Namely review.
Zenefits Customer Reviews
Zenefits earns top-notch reviews, pushing into the 5 out of 5-star range on third-party review sites, including ours. And, there are considerably more reviews to look at. Users like the easy-to-use software and how well it integrates with other business apps they use. Some report that customer service can be inconsistent, while others suggest that the payroll features aren’t as customizable as they need.
If you’re looking to make life easier for your HR team, managers, and staff, you can’t go wrong by adding an HRIS to your business software mix. Both Namely and Zenefits can manage HR data, provide benefits to your employees, run your payroll, and keep you in compliance with labor law.
We find Zenefits to be a great fit for those businesses that what to save time and improve compliance by implementing HR software. Zenefits can provide paperless onboarding tools, and track all your employee data online. In fact, your workers can use the mobile app and HR portal for self-service — including viewing their paystubs, forms, and benefits plans online. That saves you time.