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Zenefits Reviews

& Product Details

What is Zenefits?

Zenefits HR is a payroll app and an HR system that aids managers and spares the employees of the incessant managerial jargon. As a business grows, it acquires employees but may not know how to make them more impactful. If the managers lose sight of the North Star, the employees turn into dead weight. The employees get rowdy if the human resources (HR) department doesn’t have an office presence. Our Zenefits review explains how it helps everyone align strongly with the company mission.

Zenefits is an employee benefit online platform with three modules:

  • HR
  • Payroll
  • Benefits

HR deals with onboarding, wellness, and administration; Payroll takes care of the money, and Benefits provide employee self-service. After ending the guided tour, Zenefits brags an average business will save 550 hours and $18,150 using their platform.

Found in these Categories

Best For

All-in-one HR software that saves you time.
  • StartUps
  • Freelancers
  • Small Business
  • Medium Business
  • Large Enterprise
  • Non-profit Organization
  • Personal
  • Cloud, SaaS, Web-Based
  • Mobile - Android
  • Mobile - iPhone
  • Mobile - iPad
  • Desktop - Mac
  • Desktop - Windows
  • Desktop - Linux
  • Desktop - Chromebook
  • On-Premise - Windows
  • On-Premise - Linux
  • Company Name


  • Located In

    United States

  • Website


Starting from:

$8 /employee/month

Pricing Model: Subscription

Pricing Details:

Zenefits comes with three pricing plans & the possibility to add on several options.

  • Applicant Management
  • Applicant Tracking
  • Benefits Management
  • Compensation Management
  • Compliance
  • Employee Database
  • Employee Profiles
  • Mobile Compatibility
  • Onboarding
  • Payroll Management
  • Performance Management
  • Recruitment Management
  • Reporting & Dashboards
  • Self-service Portal
  • Time & Attendance

Additional Features

  • 360 Degree Feedback
  • 401(k) Tracking
  • API
  • Access Controls/Permissions
  • Accounting Integration
  • Activity Dashboard
  • Alerts/Notifications
  • Approval Process Control
  • Attendance Management
  • Attendance Tracking
  • Audit Trail
  • Benefits Dashboard
  • Biometric Recognition
  • COBRA Administration
  • Check Printing
  • Clock In/Out
  • Compensation Plan Modeling
  • Compliance Management
  • Configurable Workflow
  • Contractor Management
  • Customizable Fields
  • Customizable Reports
  • Deduction Management
  • Customizable Templates
  • Direct Deposit
  • Disability Insurance Administration
  • Document Management
  • E-Verify/I-9 Forms
  • Electronic Forms
  • Electronic Signature
  • Employee Benefits Administration
  • Employee Database
  • Email Reminders
  • Employee Handbook
  • Employee Onboarding
  • FMLA Administration
  • For Accountants
  • Employee Scheduling
  • Employee Self Service
  • For Small Businesses
  • Goal Setting/Tracking
  • HIPAA Compliant
  • HR Management
  • HSA/FSA Administration
  • Health Insurance Administration
  • Job Description Management
  • Labor Forecasting
  • Leave Tracking
  • Life Insurance Administration
  • Market Data Analysis
  • Mobile Access
  • Monitoring
  • Multi-State
  • On-going Performance Tracking
  • Online Benefits Enrollment
  • Online Punch Card
  • Organizational Charting
  • Online Time Clock
  • Orientation Workflow Management
  • Overtime Calculation
  • Payroll Reporting
  • Peer Appraisals
  • Performance Review Management
  • Policy Management
  • Project Time Tracking
  • Provider Management
  • QuickBooks Integration
  • Real-Time Analytics
  • Real-Time Reporting
  • Reminders
  • Reporting/Analytics
  • Real-time Updates
  • Retirement Plan Management
  • Review Cycle Tracking
  • Role-Based Permissions
  • Salaried Employee Tracking
  • Sick Leave Tracking
  • Skills Assessment
  • Task Management
  • Tax Calculation
  • Tax Compliance
  • Third-Party Integrations
  • Time Off Management
  • Time Off Requests
  • Timesheet Management
  • Time Tracking
  • Vacation/Leave Tracking
  • Variable Workforce
  • W-2 Preparation
  • Wage Garnishment
  • Web-based Deployment
  • Workflow Management


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Zenefits — online benefits for employee

In the US, healthcare benefits are tied to employment. Human resources software such as Zenefits gives employees more control over their health, empowering them. This leads to engagement and investment in the business where everyone feels like one big, happy family. Zenefits also gives managers easier access to employee information, including performance reviews and org charts. They can subtly remind employees who are next on the chopping block to come to the next recession to kick it up a notch. Managers who lack people skills can interact with employees and dismiss them without causing outrage through Zenefits.

Powering the Future of Work with Zenefits

HR dashboard

How Zenefits works?

Visit the home page, fill in the “Your Email” field, and click the red “Try it now” button. Name your company and choose the size category. Type in your details and click “Finish.” This functions as the Zenefits login. Select which features you want to test in the demo and click “Let’s go.” You will land in the Zenefits dashboard.

The default is the guided tour, but you can click the “Live Demo” link to dabble in a mock-up Zenefits platform.

Detailed Features of Zenefits 

Now, let’s see what features this HR system can provide to your business.

  • Automated Onboarding

Each employee has a profile in Zenefits. The administrator types in the information include employment type and classification (intern, full-time, etc.). According to the Zenefits Privacy Policy, this information is shared with partners with whom they offer joint services and advertising partners. In addition, the tool will automatically perform a background check using Checkr. It covers five areas:

  • SSN (Social Security Number) trace
  • sex offender search
  • global watchlist search
  • national search
  • country searched

This is represented by a short animation that returns a green checkmark within a few seconds in the demo. However, according to Checkr’s API documentation and help articles, some manual work is required to eliminate false positives.

Zenefits' Employee Onboarding, as easy as....

SNN trace

The SNN trace checks the person’s SSN and date of birth against those filed with credit bureaus. Only commercially available databases are searched. SSN trace may result in the “no data” error when no address is associated with the SSN. Checkr claims this is common for young persons or those with a checkered loan history.

The sex offender search combs through sex offender registries of all 50 states, tribal territories, and DC. Checkr does not use an exact name match for this search to return more results confirmed by the Checkr QA team.

Global watchlist search goes through US and international watchlists to identify people banned from travel or work in finance and healthcare. Money laundering, terrorism, and drug trafficking are the three most common reasons a person ends up on these watchlists. The databases checked by Checkr may be updated as rarely as every six months.

Checkr system

The national search goes through 900 million records to find matches. The results are “often incomplete” and might not have the crucial details. For example, a person accused of a crime could be found not guilty, but the database only has records of the accusation. In that case, Checkr sends researchers to the county for a complete report. There is no information on a “country searched” background check.

The next step is sending the employee an offer letter if all goes well. These are based on e-mail templates and consist of boilerplate detailing terms and conditions of employment. Other documents, such as W2 and I-9, can be sent.

  • Time Off Tracking

An employee can request time off through his Zenefits account. Clicking the “Holiday Calendar” heading suggests a calendar where the employee can select the dates for time off. Some dates are crossed out; the demo shows an example of Black Friday as a crossed-out date.

The request can be approved or denied by the manager through Zenefits. If approved, the manager can type in the allotted vacation days. The work hours from vacation days are automatically deducted from the employee’s paycheck.

time-off management

  • Scheduling

Managers have access to a Zenefits scheduling calendar. It’s a table that shows the upcoming week and all employees. A manager can select an employee and the date, assign a work role, and notify the employee.

Employees can clock in through Zenefits and see their total work hours, including overtime. Then, when it’s time for a break, the employee taps the button, pausing the clock. Managers can monitor in real-time which employees are on a break and clocked in.

scheduling HR

  • Employee Management

A tree-style chart shows who reports to who through a 30,000-foot view of things. Contact information is accessible as well to let everyone touch base more often. Filters provide more granularity and sift through employees by status, type, and location. Finally, employees can access the org chart to find their colleagues and drive efficiencies in a corporate landscape.

Managers can request bulk data from employees, but those who raise red flags on leave and terminate those not in lock-step with directional indicators. There is a 15-minute delay in which users can cancel an action. Documents received from employees are saved in Zenefits and sorted into folders.


  • Performance Management

This section of Zenefits hosts company-wide and team goals. The progress bar fills up as employees dot their Is and cross their Ts. Team attendance has a separate progress bar. Managers can keep an eye on the puck by making new goals, such as “Q4 revenue target”, setting the date, and typing in the desired number.

Employees and managers can ruin each other’s chances of promotion by doing a negative review. This consists of disagreeing with statements such as “I go to this person when I need excellent results.” One-on-one meetings can also be scheduled so the manager can put the layman’s hat on, time-box a situation, and produce a net/net gain.


  • Compensation Management

Salary and company metrics reveal which department is crowded and the salaries compared to the same position on the free market. Employees that don’t have a regular job title in the corporate landscape will not be compared.

An underpaid employee in the demo was marked as “high risk of leaving,” though there is no explanation how Zenefits calculated that. Perhaps Zenefits gathers stats on employees across businesses and calculates the average of how long they stayed? A manager can up the salary so the employee’s loyalty trends towards the positive.

For interns or new employees, Zenefits provides a salary range estimate. Zenefits advises taking the employee’s experience into account.

Compesation management

  • People Enablement

Surveys help managers keep a finger on the pulse of employees, who can be filtered by location and employment type. The questions are simple, indicating the employee engagement level and burnout, if any.

Survey data feeds into an overview table, with problematic numbers highlighted in red. This part of Zenefits feels clinical and insular due to how survey data is presented.

Managers can make custom surveys. However, those cannot be benchmarked and don’t guarantee relevant results. People Hub features a Twitter-like communication platform. Managers can post announcements, reply to employee comments, and everyone can give thumbs-up. However, people Hub is for chit-chat rather than deep conversations, and there don’t appear to be any content controls to limit who can see and reply to messages.

Zenefits People Hub

ClubZen is an online employee community (forum) where Zenefits users can start discussions and read through threads patrolled by Zenefits experts. There are also challenges (courses) with the Zenefits ClubZen guide, stating they provide practice and training in certain fields, such as peer-to-peer interactions.

  • Administering Benefits

Employees can compare and choose a health insurance plan from the manager’s approval. Zenefits has it as the recommended course of action, but the manager can choose and force-enroll employees into a plan. Invitation to enrollment comes with a custom message that can be sent en masse.

The invitation opens the screen with radio buttons on the employee’s end. Some choices at the end are optional, such as those concerning long-term disability insurance. The deductions are taken from the employee’s paycheck.

About Zenefits' Benefits Administration - HR tools of the trade

  • Running Payroll

 This Zenefits payroll module is purchased as an add-on. In it, employees and managers can access the itemized payroll. In addition, one-off adjustments, such as bonuses and the final review of pay stubs, can be done here.

Managers can also review employee receipts and reimburse them in this module. Employees can use the Zenefits app to send receipts.

Learn Why Customers Love Zenefits Payroll Software

  • Find Medical Plans

Zenefits has a plan shopping tool, with plans covering these insurance types:

  • medical
  • dental
  • vision
  • property and casualty

An administrator does the planned shopping for the employees. The variables include:

  • business size
  • average age
  • ZIP code

Not all healthcare plans are ACA-compliant.

  • Advisory Services

Zenefits provides advice through its team of HR and payroll experts. The specialty of this team is law changes and difficult employee interactions. There’s even a book called “People operations” written by that team.

HR Library is a paid add-on that allegedly hosts a searchable database of information vetted by attorneys. The price depends on the size of the company. HR Productivity Tools have training material for wanna-be HR professionals, such as videos, handbooks, etc.

Zenefits HR Advisor: Handling Employee Terminations

  • Integrations

Zenefits can be integrated with popular apps. As of March 2022, some of the supported apps are:

  • Asana
  • BreezyHR
  • Expensify
  • Quickbooks
  • Salesforce
  • Zapier
  • Slack

  • Does not improve networking skills

Networking is crucial for office workers in an increasingly isolated world. However, even those that loathe mingling and chit-chat must learn to tolerate them to advance in the office environment. The better they can flutter around the office, the more work they can offload on colleagues while keeping the same paycheck.

Sadly, Zenefits lacks features to satisfy anyone’s networking needs. Social butterflies will find any messaging app does the job better and will probably only use Zenefits to harvest contact info. On the other hand, hermits that want to do their job will get annoyed by Zenefits due to the lack of content controls, which means they can be forced to interact with others.

Boosts managers’ skills but can’t replace them

For a good reason, managers get a lot of flak for doing their job inefficiently. However, if employees don’t understand personal motivations and team dynamics, they suffer, and the work quality is in danger. Zenefits can help managers organize their teams but can’t teach them managerial skills that only come through personal growth.

Zenefits Cost

So, they offer a 14-day free trial and some base plans that you can choose from. Moreover, you have the possibility to buy some add-ons if you feel like you need them for your company.

Alternatives to Zenefits 

If this one is not fitted for your company, you can always look after some of its alternatives:

Square vs. Zenefits

This is a payroll app made by Square, a payment gateway. It is dedicated to paying contractors and can pay salaried employees. The reports are minimal, but the fees are flat. There is no support except during account setup and no HR benefits. Payments are done through Square. The option to pay tips to employees makes the Square payroll app perfect for restaurant owners. A business with more than 50 employees will struggle to scale and consider a more robust payroll solution.

Getting Started with Square Payroll

Paychex Flex vs. Zenefits

The best part of Paychex Flex is the 3-month free trial. You can pay employees with checks, prepaid cards, and direct deposits. A major downside is that this payroll platform won’t integrate with any accounting service provider unless you buy the most expensive subscription plan. In addition, when filing taxes on behalf of the business, Paychex Flex will charge an extra fee.

The upside is that this payroll platform can pay employees around the world. Subscription plans are customizable but tend to get pricier than the competition. Recommended for mid-size businesses with international staff.

How it works: Paychex Flex Demo

Gusto vs. Zenefits

Gusto touts itself as a payroll and HR platform for small businesses. The focus is on payroll services; there are guides, articles, and for-hire professionals for HR services. Gusto’s home page offers local guides concerning payroll regulations for ten US states:

  • California
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Michigan
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas
  • Washington

The official website offers calculators and a payroll API to use on your own. Employees can download the Gusto Wallet app that ties into their Gusto account. They can spend the funds using the provided Gusto VISA card, compatible with Apple Pay and Google Pay. Gusto’s cash accounts have up to $250,000 FDIC insurance. Gusto does not provide banking services; these are provided by “nbkc bank.” Gusto boasts 135 integrations and also lets you hire professionals through the platform.

honest review by Tekpon to Gusto

Zenefits Review Conclusions

Zenefits is a chart lover’s dream come true. It is clean, rich with numbers, and replete with gauges. Still, it cannot replace an experienced manager or a considerate HR representative but serve as their advisor at best. Unfortunately, the HR online platform will not happen any time soon. The performance management module works fine but doesn’t have enough substance to serve as a standalone feature.

There is also the issue of Zenefits offering the services of paid professionals. The Zenefits platform has the essential features down pat, but everything else is lacking to prompt you to get a professional, which you can do without Zenefits. Every business owner should be on the hunt for professionals and those with the potential to become professionals rather than rely on payroll apps.

Large businesses will benefit from Zenefits, especially discovering their core inefficiencies. The larger the business, the larger the data sample and the more reliable the findings. Conversely, small businesses can be led astray by small data samples and outliers. In any case, Zenefits is not a long-term solution for any problem, be it managerial, HR, or payroll.

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