5 Best HR Tools for Small Businesses You Aren't Using (But Should)

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Accountant, benefits coordinator, IT director, sales associate, marketing manager... As a small business owner myself, I know first-hand that the success of your small business depends in part on your ability to juggle multiple job responsibilities at once. Small business owners face a huge challenge: how to work on their business and not just in their business. Just staying up to date on employment laws and compliance requirements can feel like a full-time job! And while it's tempting to try and "do it all", day-to-day management can easily become so time-consuming and resource intensive that you put off the long-term strategic planning that's critical to business growth and viability.

Don't be afraid to ask for help! Outsourcing time-consuming but vital tasks like running payroll or balancing the books can save you some serious mental sanity. Good news: if there's no room in the budget for an HR coordinator or turnkey payroll service like Paychex, all is not lost. Startups like Gusto and JustWorks are providing their own affordable HR services tailored specifically to small and mid-sized benefits. These are five of my favorites:

1. Gusto. Gusto, formerly known as Zen Payroll, this web-based payroll solution is affordable and easy to use, thanks to the platform's intuitive design and automated tax calculations. All system navigation takes place from the product's central dashboard, and you can run payroll directly from your smartphone. In addition to low-cost payroll, Gusto (which received coveted status as a Silicon Valley 'unicorn' thanks to its $1 billion-plus valuation at the end of 2015) now offers health benefits and workers' comp insurance.

Gusto seamlessly integrates with a variety of third-party solutions, including Quickbooks, Freshbooks, Xero, Bamboo HR and Kin. Gusto offers tiered pricing, which means the cost of payroll can fluctuate each month depending on how many employees or contractors you're paying. This is ideal for small businesses that may only have a handful of employees most of the year but needs to expand with contractors depending on seasonal work.

2. Bamboo. Still keeping employee information in an endless spreadsheet? Meet Bamboo, a simple, streamlined software solution that will help you move away from spreadsheet to an intuitive online HR platform. Bamboo keeps all your employee data secure in one location and accessible in seconds. Streamline onboarding, and efficiently track employee time off, benefits, and training. Stop wasting your day tracking down paperwork and spend more time connecting with employee teams.

3. Free Background Check. Are you doing due diligence when you hire new employees? Don't be fooled by an impressive resume or glowing references. A background check is still an essential part of the hiring process and critical to protecting your liability as an employer. FreeBackgroundCheck.org is fast, efficient, and comprehensive. The background check covers everything from arrest and bankruptcy records to criminal records and police reports. Feel confident that your new hires are everything they claim to be, and not a potential threat to your business.

4. Workforce Management Software from Advance Systems. Advance Systems, Inc. offers some of the most comprehensive (and affordable) time tracking and attendance solutions. The time and attendance options include web-based clocking, text alert clocking, mobile phone clocking and even a desktop biometric reader, which provides the full functionality of a clock terminal at a fraction of the price.

The system is quick, convenient and intuitive for busy business owners. It's easy to customize for your business's shifts, wages, hours, and different departments. Goodbye manual time and attendance tracking, hello productivity! Plus, you can easily export payroll data to commonly used payroll systems, saving time and hassle at the end of every payroll period.

5. Justworks. Justworks is an all-in-one HR solution that includes payroll, benefits and compliance coverage all from one central dashboard. Like Gusto, Justworks will manage your monthly payroll (including expense reimbursements, bonuses, and commissions), as well as automatically filing W-2s and 1099s at the end of the year. Justworks integrates with Xero, Quickbooks, and QBO.

As a PEO, Justworks also manages compliance with local, state and federal regulations, including Employee Practices Liability Insurance, workers' comp, ACA compliance, and more. Justworks offers flat payroll pricing, which means the cost of running payroll each month stays the same, no matter how many employees you're paying.

Bottom line:

Stop wasting time with manual onboarding, payroll, and time tracking, and put these affordable HR solutions to work for your business! Have a favorite HR platform I missed? Let me know which solutions your business loves (or loathes) in the comments below.