Namely vs Zenefits (now TriNet Zenefits): Which Is Best for You in 2023
This article is part of a larger series on Payroll Services.
Namely and TriNet Zenefits are both cloud-based human resources (HR) systems designed to help you manage employee data, benefits enrollment, and payroll. Both provide a mobile app and an HR portal to let staff access pay stubs, request paid time off (PTO), and view the information in their personnel records.
Namely’s customizable software and services are fit for bigger companies—you design a plan with only the solutions that your business needs. Plus, it also offers managed services for payroll and benefits administration. On the other hand, TriNet Zenefits is a greater fit for small businesses, as its services are simpler and more affordable.
Based on the providers’ strengths, we’ve determined their best-case scenarios:
- Namely: Best for midsize businesses wanting a fully customizable all-in-one solution with advanced HR features, such as performance management and managed services
- TriNet Zenefits: Best for small and growing businesses that want an affordable, fully integrated platform with essential HR tools
When to choose an alternative: If neither TriNet Zenefits nor Namely appeal to you, we recommend Rippling. It provides a modular system (starts at $35 + $8 per employee monthly) that lets you choose the tools you need and is one of the best-rated HR software, perfect for very small businesses to large international corporations. Plus, it offers IT onboarding, as well as PEO services that you can turn on and off as needed. Check out our Rippling review for more information.
Namely vs TriNet Zenefits Compared
$10–$27 per employee
HR Information System (HRIS)
Onboarding and PTO Tracking
Time and Attendance
$62 per month
Payroll and Tax Filing
(Federal, Local, and State)
$6 per employee monthly
$5 per employee monthly
if using own broker
(Includes ACA-Compliant Health Insurance)
Via third-party insurance carriers
Via TriNet Zenefits’ broker network
Available in higher tiers
Compensation Management and Employee Surveys
Available in higher tiers
Employee Directory and Org Chart
Company News Feed
Requires upgrade to the Zen plan
*Namely doesn’t publish its fees on its website and are available only upon request.
**5 employee minimum required
Interested in a payroll solution but don’t know where to start? Read our guide on selecting the right payroll solution for your business.
When to Use Each
Both TriNet Zenefits and Namely offer:
- Employee self-service and mobile apps (iOS and Android)
- Online benefits enrollments
- Pay processing for employees and contractors
- Check and direct deposit pay options
- Year-end tax reporting (such as W-2s and 1099s)
- Digital signatures and document management
- HR compliance tools
- Reporting and analytics
- Robust integration options
- Live phone support and how-to guides
Click through the tabs below to see more specifically when we recommend each.
Because of its affordability and essential HR tools, we recommend TriNet Zenefits if:
- You have a small business that needs a fully-integrated HR platform.
- You want transparent pricing with multiple plan options.
- You require fast implementation with zero setup fees.
|Easy to use||Payroll solution costs extra|
|Affordable base plan||Limited international payroll options|
|Fully-integrated and modular system||Minimum five employees required|
|Comprehensive benefits administration with health insurance plans available in all 50 states, plus Washington DC||Inconsistent customer support|
Namely is a fully customizable HR solution. Its core plan, called HR Fundamentals, is required. You then choose other features that your business needs as add-ons—payroll and benefits administration, for example. Or, you can add time tracking, recruiting, and compliance tools. It all depends on what your business needs. Namely also offers managed services that let you outsource your payroll and benefits administration. You have access to experts that provide employee benefits consulting and brokerage services.
Thus, Namely is best if:
- You are a midsize to large business or a fast-growing one looking for an all-in-one platform for HR, payroll, and benefits tools.
- You want a highly customizable platform that lets you add on services as needed.
- You have a small or one-person HR team that will benefit from managed services.
|Customizable platform||Not ideal for small businesses (those with less than 50 employees)|
|A wide range of HR tools in one solution||Pricing isn’t transparent|
|Ease of use||Lacks international payroll capabilities (you have to use a third-party service)|
|Offers managed services (payroll processing and benefits administration)||System setup and implementation takes a long time (average of six to eight weeks)|
Best in Pricing: TriNet Zenefits
Pricing for Namely, on the other hand, isn’t its strongest point. First, it doesn’t publish its pricing online. You have to contact the provider to discuss your business requirements and request a custom quote. We found third-party sources that said it runs anywhere from $12 to $30 per employee monthly, but there’s no information on what is included. Further, it has implementation fees (which we’ve seen as $50+ per employee or a percentage of the first year’s costs). We spoke to a representative that told us that Namely’s minimum contract amount ranges from $10,000 to $15,000, depending on what services you sign up for. Comparing this with TriNet Zenefits, a business would need more than 83 employees signing up for the core plan to match Namely’s minimum contract requirement.
Namely doesn’t have multiple plans; instead, it offers an “HR Fundamentals” package as a starter tier to which you can add modules (such as payroll processing, benefits administration, and timekeeping).
When to Consider Namely
If you prefer customizability over affordability, then choose Namely. Its completely customizable solutions are an excellent choice whether you have a new business that hasn’t invested in other HR solutions yet or you have a midsize business with a small HR team.
Best for HR Features: Namely
Where TriNet Zenefits Stands Apart: Better Mobile + Employee Engagement Tools
TriNet Zenefits stands apart with its “well-being” module to help you measure, track, and improve workforce well-being and productivity. Engagement surveys help you track the pulse of your workforce with survey templates based on best practices or the freedom to create your own questionnaires. Namely does not have this feature, although it can advise on questions to ask.
TriNet Zenefits also has the better-rated mobile apps, overall, with its Android app ranking over a point better than Namely, while its Apple app is also highly rated.
Best in Payroll Features & Employee Benefits: Tied
Automatic pay runs
Multiple pay options
Check and direct deposit
Check and direct deposit
Year-end tax reporting (W-2s and 1099s)
Federal, local, and state taxes
Calculates, files, and pays
Calculates, files, and pays
For straight payroll services, the TriNet Zenefits vs Namely race runs pretty even. Both offer it as an add-on and provide complete tools including importing hours from their time tracking tools, calculating deductions and garnishments, allowing custom modifications like bonuses, and filing and paying payroll and taxes.
For employee benefits, TriNet Zenefits’ and Namely’s offerings are also similar. Both provide a flexible savings account, a health savings account, health insurance, life and disability, and retirement plans that are available through a network of either partner brokers or third-party carriers.
Since our last update:
TriNet Zenefits can now offer health insurance in Hawaii, although currently, only dental, vision, and property and casualty insurance are listed on its website. Namely does offer health insurance in Hawaii.
Where Namely Stands Out: Managed Services
If you don’t have a payroll manager or prefer to outsource this responsibility, Namely offers managed payroll and benefits services, while TriNet Zenefits does not. Managed payroll gives Namely complete responsibility for calculating and filing payroll and taxes and includes an accuracy guarantee. The managed benefits plan lets Namely negotiate with carriers on your behalf to find the best packages based on your goals and a competitive assessment of your industry and area, plus compliance requirements.
Where TriNet Zenefits Stands Out: Restaurant Payroll
One thing we did not find with Namely was tip reporting; even its help articles talk about employees self-reporting this individually. TriNet Zenefits, on the other hand, specifically says it can handle tip reporting—enabling restaurants and similar businesses to capture reported tips easily.
Looking for something else?
Check our guide to the best payroll services for small businesses.
Best for Ease of Use, Customer Support & Integrations: Tied
Initial setup and implementation
Applicant tracking, benefits and COBRA administration providers, identity management and single sign-on tools, international payroll solutions, employee recognition systems, learning platforms, employee feedback software
Applicant tracking, accounting, time tracking, learning management, employee management,
performance management, health and wellness, collaboration and productivity tools
Real-world customer ratings (averaged over several sites)
4.06 out of 5 stars
3.89 out of 5 stars
Namely offers more customer support options, such as how-to videos and a community forum where you can discuss common issues with the provider’s other clients. Zenefits’ website lacks videos but does have additional tools like checklists and ebooks.
TriNet Zenefits reviews, however, include complaints about the delays in responses despite their phone support. We even saw complaints that support took days to get back to them. This year, two customers on Capterra said they canceled accounts because of poor service.
Namely and TriNet Zenefits each have a robust selection of partners for software tools. Here are some of the two providers’ integration options:
- Namely partner systems: JazzHR, Greenhouse, Workable, Lessonly, TSheets, Boomr, Simply Merit, Bonusly, Verified First, Workato, Zapier, Pingboard, and Google Workspace (formerly G Suite)
- TriNet Zenefits partner systems: BreezyHR, JazzHR, Greenhouse, Zywave, Lessonly, TSheets, Deputy, Bonusly, Checkr, Workato, Zapier, Xero, QuickBooks, Expensify, Asana, Slack, and Microsoft 365
Since our last update:
Namely has added Slack to its mid-market HR platform.
Namely and TriNet Zenefits provide all the functionalities of a cloud-based HR system, including performance management, payroll processing, benefits administration, and compensation management. To decide which is right for you, consider the size of your business, how much of your payroll and benefits tasks you want to outsource, and what features you need.
For small businesses, TriNet Zenefits has fully integrated HR tools to help manage your workforce.
For midsize businesses, Namely offers a fully customizable solution to help manage payroll, HR, and benefits.