Zenefits vs. Namely: Pricing, Features, User Reviews

Explore the features, pricing, pros and cons of the Zenefits and Namely HR platforms to decide what's best for you.
Nina GodlewskiOct 28, 2020

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What’s inside

If you're looking for an HR software solution for your small business, you've got options. To help you make an  informed decision, this guide explores Zenefits and Namely, two of the many available , and compares their features, pricing, pros and cons.

Right off the bat, you can tell one of the biggest differences between Namely vs. Zenefits is that Namely’s pricing model is not transparent. Unlike Zenefits, which offers upfront pricing, you’ll have to contact Namely directly to find out how much its services will cost your business.

When it comes to specific plans and pricing, Zenefits has a bit more to dig into than Namely does. That’s not to say that Zenefits and Namely don’t have many of the same features, but Zenefits offers set plans and prices while Namely offers more customized solutions.

One thing to note about Zenefits is that none of its plans come with included — instead, payroll is an add-on feature that comes with an additional cost.

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First up, Zenefits’ Essentials plan costs $8 per month per employee when you pay annually, or $10 per month per employee when paid monthly.

This plan comes with the core HR functions you need to run a business — from hiring and onboarding to time tracking and business intelligence.

For businesses with greater needs, there’s Zenefits’ Growth plan for $14 per month per employee annually, or $18 per month per employee monthly.

The Growth plan comes with everything in the Essentials plan, plus some extra compensation and performance management tools.

With this upgrade, you’ll get the tools to help your employees stay on track with their career goals and how those goals fit with the department or company goals. It also comes with templates that managers can use to help offer feedback and conduct employee reviews.

The Zen plan is the most sophisticated of all that Zenefits offers. With this plan, users get everything in the Essentials and Growth plans, as well as additional wellbeing features.

These features come as a collaboration with Thrive Global and allow you to assess your team’s wellbeing and track any problem areas or their progress at work. It also gives you personalized recommendations to help employees thrive.

The plan costs $27 per month per employee when paid monthly and $21 per month per employee when paid annually.

Payroll is not included in any of Zenefits’ standard plans. Instead, it’s an add-on feature that costs an additional $6 per month per employee.

Additional Zenefits add-ons are advisory services, meaning unlimited access to HR and payroll experts for an additional $8 per month per employee and benefits admin using your own broker for $5 per month per employee. With this add-on, you can utilize a benefits broker other than one of the partner options that Zenefits offers.

There are no set plans from Namely as there are with Zenefits. Instead, Namely plans are custom-made on a business-by-business basis. While this can be great for your business because you’re only getting — and paying for — what you need, it also means that it’s more difficult to know if what your business is paying is the same as another business with the same needs.

The lack of pricing information makes Namely less transparent.

Each Zenefits plan comes with built-in tools to help you onboard new employees. You can even send them their offer letter from the Zenefits system. These tools also allow new employees to onboard themselves by inputting their information for benefits and payroll setup (if you opt for payroll). They can also create digital signatures for any electronic paperwork.

There are a number of features available under the umbrella of time-off tracking. You can create an accessible company PTO policy for your employees. Once your employees submit time-off requests in Zenefits, admins will be able to see and approve or deny those requests on the Zenefits site or app. The paid time off that employees have earned is readily available in Zenefits so they don’t have to keep track themselves.

With Zenefits, you’ll also have access to a number of reports based on the data in your Zenefits system. You can have compensation summaries on your business, get information on turnover rates and more.

You can also run reports on each of your employees to better understand their performance at work and to keep tabs on stats about them like their compensation and their stock options.

To handle employee benefits you can either use your own broker (as an add-on) or use one of Zenefits’ partners to set up a plan for health care, dental, vision, 401(k), commuter benefits and more. Your employees will be able to select their benefits right through the Zenefits platform during the open enrollment period.

Your employees would also be able to use the Zenefits app to check balances on their benefits, account numbers and more.

Keep in mind, you can build your customized plan with as many (or few) features as you need.

Namely’s HR compliance package includes a handbook where you can keep the latest rules and expectations for employees.

With this package, you’ll also get access to live HR advisors who are certified and can help answer any HR-related questions and offer expert advice. This feature can be especially helpful for business owners who don’t have HR professionals employed directly at their business.

You’ll also get access to learning management for administering custom training and legally required compliance courses that you have to give to your employees.

Within this package, Namely offers employee engagement, onboarding, talent-management, benefits admin, payroll and more.

The payroll solution comes with time integration so you don’t have to manually import data from your employees’ timesheets. You’ll also get unified HR and payroll, meaning the data is automatically synced, taking care of deductions and any changes in pay. You also don’t need to worry about filing taxes or any year-end reporting like your W2 and 1099 filing.

Your employees will also get access to this so they can see their paystubs and paycheck history online without having to ask HR or you for that information directly.

When you’ve hired the best employees, you want to prevent turnover, and to do that you can use the tools employee engagement tools Namely offers. You can set goals with your employees and create automated review cycles for them. You can also run assessments and show appreciation to your employees right in the Namely feed.

Listed as a people operations platform extension, Namely recruiting software can help you streamline the hiring process so you can find and retain top talent. Features of this service include custom job workflows, job-posting and syndication, configurable job applications, resume parser and searchable database, interviews and assessments, background checks, offer letters and reporting and compliance tools.

If you have hourly employees, you’ll be especially interested in Namely’s time and attendance tools, which offer physical time clocks that seamlessly sync with cloud-based software. You’ll also receive mobile time tracking software, scheduling and overtime management, mass editing, the ability to import data to payroll, an admin dashboard and reporting tools.

Here are some of the benefits of choosing Zenefits.

If you like upfront pricing and having set plans to choose from, then Zenefits might be the more comfortable and logical choice for you. With Zenefits, you know what you’ll pay from the start, and you also know this is the same price that similar businesses are paying. You can also easily graduate to the next plan up, if necessary, as your business grows.

Zenefits is one of the more flexible options you have when it comes to HR software, in part due to the number of integrations it offers. It offers integrations with apps for travel, employee management, accounting, retirement saving and more. This way, you can automate even more of your processes and take some of the manual tasks off your to-do list.

Zenefits has pretty good reviews all around. Its users highlight how inclusive the service is and the efficiency of the software, especially for a small business.

Namely users highlight the ease of using the paid time off features, saying that they are user-friendly and, when combined with the time tracking and HRIS features, effective and easy to use. This is easiest to use effectively when combined with other Namely features, so note that when creating your Namely plan.

Users also highlighted the feed available to all employees and managers. It’s a social media-like feed that lets users see company news and lets managers see employee information like time-off requests. This feed also features a people directory and allows for employees to engage with one another.

While the absence of cut-and-dried plans may be a disadvantage for some, it can be a pro for others. The ability to completely customize your Namely plan to include only the features you want and nothing you don’t need means you don’t wind up paying top-dollar for a solution you can’t take full advantage of.

A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.

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