Joe Hodges

Written by:

Joe Hodges – Product Manager @ CharlieHR

Updated in Month Year

6 min read

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Having worked both in our customer success team and our product team, I’ve done a lot of research on what other solutions offer on the market – and I took a particular interest in what free HR solutions can offer. 

As I studied their pros and cons, and use that knowledge to improve our own platform, I ended up with quite an interesting list of free HR software I wanted to share below. 

5 Free HR software your small business or start up will need

Deel is software for hiring, payroll and HR, and is originally designed for big, international corporations, however, it does also offer a free version for small businesses. 

With the aim of “simplifying every aspect of managing a worldwide team”, Deel also provides support with visas and compliance. 

Choose Deel if
Don't choose Deel if


You’re a global business hiring employees and contractors from all over the world

You have no plans to grow your business outside of the UK


You need to be able to pay people internationally

You're a small business, as you won't be able to afford expanding beyond the free version once you scale


You want support with visas and compliance

Verified user, Capterra review

“Does the job and gets our international employees paid.”

What you get with this free HR software

What you can do with Deel’s free HR software:

  • Get HR documents from your team members 
  • Manage expenses and deal with time off requests 
  • Have a people directory available 
  • Build HR reports for churn and retention 

If you’re looking for more such as help with your performance management, and more integrations, you’ll have to move onto the pay version of the software. 

Beams is an employee engagement and recognition platform. With Beams, you can track changes in your team, understand how they’re performing, and identify areas for improvement through pulse surveys and analytics reports.

Beams’ free HR software is available for teams of up to ten people, but it’s an employee engagement tool rather than a complete HR solution.

Choose Beams if
Don't choose Beams if


You’re looking for an employment engagement tool

You need HR software that does more than just measure employee engagement

Alexander, CEO, Capterra review.

“Beams is a great tool for strengthening employee engagement and appreciation.”

What you get with this free HR software

Although Beams also offers a paid version, its free version allows you to have access to the following: 

  • Use for up to 10 users
  • Ready-to-use and customisable pulse surveys
  • Assess engagement trends within your team with reports
  • Personal recommendations for team members 

WebHR is an all-in-one HR software that includes core HR, payroll, recruitment, performance, and time & attendance modules. It’s available in 30 languages.

WebHR’s free HR software is available to businesses with fewer than five employees, though the software is designed for large, international corporations.

Choose WebHR if
Don't choose WebHR if


You work across multiple languages

You're planning to grow in the future and want an affordable solution


An app is one of your top requirements

You're only operating out of one country


You need integration with lots of other tools and software 

Client testimonial, WebHR

“WebHR is a great tool for global companies. Easy to use employee management in multiple languages.”

What you get with this free HR software

The free version of WebHR (for 5 people or less) gives you access to the following: 

  • Mobile apps for iOS and Android
  • Available in 30 languages
  • Time and attendance feature
  • Employee database 
  • Dynamic dashboards 
  • Social HR 

OrangeHRM has a free and open source version (Starter) and paid options (Advanced). You add on modules as your business grows. 

With Starter, OrangeHRM’s free HR software, you get a light version of the Advanced offer  — which you can use on the cloud, or download and host yourself.

Choose OrangeHRM if
Don't choose OrangeHRM if


You understand open source 

You’re looking for a single package for all your HR needs


You’re happy with a modular, bolt-on approach

You’d prefer software that’s built and designed for small business 

You're worried about security and open-source

Client review, G2

“We always thought of payroll as something boring and annoying. Now it’s just a few clicks every month and that’s it.”

What you get with this free HR software

OrangeHRM offers a free HR software for all. That means you can get: 

  • Open source HR software
  • Admin module 
  • Personal information management 
  • Time off management 

Connecteam is a workforce management app where you can schedule shifts, track working hours, manage daily tasks and more.

Choose Connecteam if
Don't choose Connecteam if


You need your team to clock in and out with a recorded GPS location

You have a small budget


You know exactly what features you want and need

You’d like one, simple package for all HR 

Callum, Trustpilot review

“Good app / software, but everything costs extra.”

What you get with this free HR software 

Connecteam’s free HR software is accessible for up to 10 users. After that, costs are dependent on what features and hubs you require, and how many people are in your team. 

Why a free HR software may not be the right solution for you 

The only reason why a business would want to not have to pay for an HR software is, of course, a financial one. 

It’s completely understandable that the first stages of your business mean you may want to find ways to save money, however, it’s also crucial that your HR foundations remain solid – that’s where HR software comes into play. 

Since we don’t offer a free solution, we haven’t included our own software in the mix, but we want to make sure you understand what you could get if you tried Charlie:


Simple and fast: Charlie is so quick and easy to set up, your team won’t require any training.


Great value for money: Charlie is billed per size bracket. For a 10-person team, you’d be paying £40 per month, but that includes all of our features, with no hidden price. 


Ideal for scaling: most ‘free HR software’ is no longer free once you reach a certain number of employees. Charlie allows you to grow at your own pace whilst keeping it affordable.


Cancel anytime: with Charlie, you’re not tied in into a lengthy contract


First week free: so you can make sure that Charlie is right for you before committing.

Charlie is an all-in-one HR software for small businesses who are looking for a system that’s easy, simple and includes all their needs: onboarding, time off management, reports, engagement surveys, performance management and integrations for seamless workflows. 

Automate your HR, all of it

Charlie is with you day-to-day to accomplish your HR tasks

Try CharlieHR for free

Free for 7 days

No credit card needed   

Cancel any time

Comparison table to pick your free HR software 

HR software

Best if

Best Feature
  • You’re planning to hire internationally in the future
  • Free for businesses with under 200 team members


Best Feature
  • You’re looking to measure and increase employee engagement
  • Free up to 10 users, features via the ‘Forever plan’, and then $4 per user per month
Best Feature
  • You want to manage your HR via an app and have people operating from different countries
  • Free if under 5 users, after that it’s $2USD per user, per month
Best Feature
  • You’re looking for an open source HR software
  • ‘Starter’ is free as it’s open-source, all other pricing is on request
Best Feature
  • You’re interested in shift scheduling and time tracking
  • Free up to 10 users, then dependent on the features and hubs you require, and number of users
Best Feature
  • You want all the basics for your HR with a software that’s super easy to use
  • Free for 7 days, and then £4 per user, per month (for the full Charlie package with no extra costs)


What is free HR software?

Free HR software is a term for systems and platforms that automate and simplify HR admin and processes at no cost. But there are often limitations to the features available for free, and costs are incurred once the business has reached a set number of employees. 

Good HR software comes with built-in features to manage everything from recruitment and onboarding, to time and attendance and performance management. HR software also provides a safe and secure place to store employee documents and data. 

What is the best free HR software for small businesses?

All free HR software comes with limitations as well as benefits, so it’s important to consider these before deciding on the best HR software for your small business. 

Sometimes the limitations of free HR software aren’t immediately obvious, but it’s likely you’ll have fewer available features, or a platform that’s better suited to a different sort of business. 

For example, software that’s created for big, global corporations probably won’t give you what you need as a small business, even if you can access it for free. 

And if the free software doesn’t give you all the features you need to streamline and improve your HR processes, you’ll continue to encounter the same obstacles and frustrations you have now. 

Do you want to find out more about HR automation? 

Whilst doing my research for our software, I’ve also compiled other handy guides on the subject that could help you if you’re looking for a particular feature.

Find out more about it here: 

Charlie: for HR that’s effortless and affordable

Try CharlieHR for free

Free for 7 days


No credit card needed   


Cancel any time