This article is part of a larger series on Payroll Services.
What We Recommend Zoho People for
Zoho People’s core product is its human resources platform, which is great for companies adding to their workforce. It provides tools to manage the entire HR process from recruiting to offboarding, including onboarding, training, performance tracking, time tracking, compliance, and advanced reporting. All tools are online, and Zoho provides mobile apps as well.
In short, Zoho People is best for:
- Small businesses that want to start transitioning to HR software at no cost: Zoho People’s free forever plan, which comes with an HR employee database and time off management, earned it a spot in our best HR software for small businesses guide. If you’re not yet ready to spend money on HR software but want to start organizing your employee data and establishing set processes, this plan can work for you. You can always upgrade the plan and add more Zoho products later.
- Companies planning on hiring: This solution helps HR departments and managing teams recruit talent, create hiring flows, build branded career pages, track applicants, and run background checks.
- Businesses that want to improve their employees’ performance: Named one of our best performance management systems, Zoho provides advanced training functions such as course management, assessments, blended learning, discussion forums, and a learning portal. Performance can be tracked by managing goals, performance appraisals, self-appraisals, and key result areas (KRAs).
When Zoho People Would Not Be a Good Fit
- Companies that just need payroll processing: While the compatible Zoho Payroll product provides payroll processing, it costs more than some top payroll software, which may charge only $10–$15 per month, per employee. In comparison, Zoho starts at nearly $200 per month for just three employees.
- Businesses that require 24/7 year-round support: Even the paid support plans offered by Zoho do not include 24/7 support. Paid telephone and chat support are also limited to 24/5. If you’re in need of anytime customer service, an HR payroll service like ADP or Paychex could be a better fit for you.
Looking for something different? Read our guide to the best HRIS/HRMS software for small businesses to find a solution that’s right for you.
Zoho People Overview
|Fully integrated, customizable HR features||Limited support hours for all plans|
|Affordable monthly rates||Long, six-hour support response time|
|Comprehensive employee onboarding||Employee profiles cost extra|
|Advanced time tracking tools||Payroll is a different Zoho product, although it does integrate with Zoho People|
Zoho People Pricing
Zoho People is available in six versions, including a free version for companies with fewer than five users. Small companies can easily start with the first paid tier, Essential HR, to help with employee onboarding, employee data management, time off tracking, approval and workflow management, and reporting. If needed, you can sign up for Zoho Payroll at $190 per month for up to three employees.
The Professional version includes more time-tracking features. The next step up, Premium, adds performance tracking, job scheduling, and advanced analytics. The Enterprise version adds training.
The top-tier product, People Plus, adds the Recruiting, Expense, Connect, Cliq, and Vault modules to help companies manage expenses, passwords, talent acquisition, collaboration, and communication.
A 30-day free trial is available.
Mobile Apps (iOS and Android)
Employee Database, Organization, and Employee Files
Attendance Tracking and Time Sheets
Learning Management System
*Annual pricing is available at 10% discount.
Using Zoho People Essential HR, the second-lowest tier, businesses can manage basic HR functions easily. Compatible services such as payroll, expense management, and recruiting can be added if you’re willing to purchase additional products.
Zoho People Features
With Zoho People, you can maintain an employee database and manage your workforce while ensuring smooth HR processes. Let’s take a look at some of Zoho People’s standout features.
Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS)
The core of Zoho People is the HR platform that provides free and introductory features and advanced HR tools for growing companies. Small companies can affordably begin to manage HR functions—such as employee data management, online document management processing, time-off management, and basic reporting—using the Essential version.
Zoho People also provides advanced HR features in its Premium, Enterprise, and People Plus versions (the three highest tiers) to help growing companies with recruiting, advanced onboarding, training, and performance management. The Zoho Recruit module includes recruitment tools—such as assistance with job posting, tracking candidates, and job requisition. New hire and onboarding help include e-signature support, hiring document management, and support for onboarding flows. Training support is provided for new hires and current employees. Managers can track performance, goals, and appraisals.
The most advanced HR version, People Plus, has everything in the other plans, plus:
- Talent Acquisition
- Payroll India
- Expense Management (add-on)
- Collaboration Software
- Online Chat, Video and Audio
- Password Management (add-on)
- Temporary Staff Management (add-on)
PTO and Time-off Management
Even the Essential version (the second-lowest) of Zoho People helps track personal time, holidays, and time-off policies. It automates tedious time-off tasks such as managing leave policies, approvals, calculating time-off accruals, handling multiple-location holidays, and reporting. Tools are available via mobile, so managers can track time off and manage permissions in real time. Being able to access overtime tracking, biometric technologies, geotracking, and scheduling for less than $2 per month, per employee, is quite the bargain compared to the costs resulting from inaccurate payroll.
Zoho People’s third tier, Professional, and higher help HR teams create accurate payroll by utilizing advanced time-tracking tools. Employees can self-report time sheets, or salaried workers’ hours can be automatically calculated. You can invoice billed hours automatically, and hourly workers’ time can be tracked using onsite or mobile devices.
Advanced time clock features such as biometric, GEO, and IP tracking, and facial recognition technologies are available to control time theft. Quite often, these advanced types of time tracking technologies are only included in advanced or enterprise versions. These time tracking tools are excellent for companies that need to track hourly employees working onsite or remotely.
Good onboarding tools help new hires learn how to use Zoho People and enter their employee information. Profile support can be added starting at 23 cents per month, per employee, which differs from most HR software, which don’t charge extra for the service.
You can include customized training that follows onboarding flows, as well as embedded video and self-paced courses. To help save HR team members time, you can automate many processes, such as e-signing and managing hiring documents. Checklists can be created to help new hires move through the onboarding process. Custom forms can also be made to gather information unique to the company’s HR and hiring needs. Access to the online onboarding portal is via URL, which can easily be emailed to potential candidates or new hires. And of course, onboarding elements can be branded.
Zoho Recruit is available in the Enterprise version (the fifth tier) of Zoho People and can be used by staffing agencies, corporate HR, or temporary hiring agencies. This HR module helps companies attract, interview, and hire new employees. It can create custom career pages, employee referral portals, and screening assessments. Recruitment teams can create job application forms so that candidates can apply and submit documents on the company website.
Once the hiring process starts, hiring managers can schedule and track screenings, interviews, offers, and background checks. The applicant tracking system includes an AI assistant and mobile tools.
Learning Management System
This new feature aims to meet the learning needs of various industries. Based in the cloud, Zoho People’s learning management system aims to streamline training across organizations and make e-learning convenient for team members.
If your business involves regular training of employees, then this feature is noteworthy. It allows users to create courses according to their needs, so you can add videos, assignments, and quizzes. The feature also supports blended and self-paced learning and allows creating courses of various levels for certain departments, designations, or skills.
This module is included with the Enterprise version (the fifth tier) of Zoho People. For the Essential HR, Professional, and Premium plans, this can be purchased as an add-on for $2 per user, per month, or $18 per user, per year. It provides a learner portal with access to self-guided learning tools, trainers, assessments, discussions, and course feedback tools.
Zoho People Ease of Use
- Simple to use HR tools
- Employee self-services tools
- Free 24/5 email support
- Professional setup services available
- Single Point of Contact (SPOC) available
Zoho People is simple for administrators, managers, and employees to use. All features are accessible online, and iOS and Android apps are available for free in the Google’s Play store and Apple App Store. Employees can use their phones to clock-in/out or submit hours worked.
Basic email and telephone support is available to all customers with a guaranteed 24-hour response time. Paid support includes faster response time, chat support, a dedicated support contact person, and training. Zoho People released a new feature called Zia, which is an AI bot that is a virtual support assistant. Accessible from any screen, Zia guides users through routine tasks virtually using AI technologies, so you can get help at any time without the need to contact a customer support person.
Zoho products are designed to be customized. You can set up Essential HR (the second tier) to your preferences and add to it as needed. It is simple to upgrade to the other HR versions or to add other Zoho services.
Zoho People integrates with other Zoho modules, including CRM, Invoice, Books, Payroll, Mail, Recruit, Expense, Analytics, Projects, Writer, Sign, Vault, and Directory.
This HR solution also integrates with third-party services such as QuickBooks, AdobeSign, DocuSign, Google Calendar, Zapier, Xoxoday, and Microsoft 365.
What Users Think About Zoho People
Users Don’t Like
Easy to use desktop and mobile UI
Limited support hours
Talent management and onboarding tools
Slow to respond support
Simple-to-manage employee data
Limited phone support
Overall, Zoho People receives positive reviews from new and experienced users. Many report that the HR tools are simple to learn and that Zoho tools make their day-to-day HR tasks more manageable and less tedious. Users related that they were able to connect the software with third-party business solutions without too much difficulty. Of course, Zoho People integrates with other Zoho products easily, such as its payroll solution.
The most common negative comments about Zoho are about customer support. Some users report that even with paid support, they experience slow response times. Users also said that often they’d get email responses but not direct telephone or chat support.
At the time of publication, Zoho People reviews earned the following scores on popular user review sites:
Top Zoho People Alternatives
Best for: Businesses with a small HR team
Best for: Small businesses needing payroll and basic onboarding support
Best for: Employers with employees in multiple states
Monthly fees from: Custom-priced
Monthly fees: $19 per month, plus $6 per person
Monthly fees: $21 per employee
If you’re looking for a payroll solution, check out our guide on best payroll services.
Zoho People is fully customizable, making it a fitting HR solution for small, growing, and large companies. Numerous Zoho modules are available to add additional features as company needs evolve. Entry-level HR tools are affordably priced or free for limited users. Plus, advanced recruiting, onboarding, and training features can be added for a low monthly rate, making it optimal for businesses in active hiring phases.
If you’d like to learn more about Zoho People’s features, sign up for a free trial—no credit card required.