Today SMEs have access to purpose built HR software and tools that can help them streamline their processes and save on costs.

Whereas in the past HR software was typically designed for large companies, today there are a vast number of HR software tools aimed at SMEs. Many of these tools are offered as ‘software as a service.’ This means that the software is owned by a provider and can be accessed by subscribing SMEs via the internet.

HR software tools designed for SMEs are much more affordable and tailored to meet the needs and requirements of businesses with fewer employees. Take a look at some of the most popular HR software tools for SMEs below.

Absence management tools

One of the best UK-based HR software tools for SMEs is offered by SMB. The software is delivered via the cloud and provides users with an easy to use dashboard that can be accessed anywhere. Although it has a wide range of features and capabilities, it is best known for its ability to help HR departments manage absence, making sickness and holiday easy to calculate and record.

Another great absence management tool is e-days. This software offers a wide range of sick leave and holiday tracking tools. It is not the most comprehensive of HR tools, but if you are looking for a dedicated absence management tool, it will make a fantastic choice.

Workforce planning tools

If you are looking for a cost-effective and user-friendly HR tool for SMEs we recommend taking a look at SimpleHR. This software lets companies store basic information about their employees’ salaries, benefits, performance reviews, holiday use and sickness records. There are various different versions of this software available, depending on how many people you employ.

Recruitment tools

HR tools can automate certain processes so that staff have less paperwork to do and businesses can save on admin costs.

Whereas in the past applicant tracking systems were aimed at large businesses, today there are plenty that has been designed specifically for SMEs. Applicant tracking systems assist HR staff throughout the recruitment process, automating communication and functions like evaluating CVs based on set criteria. There are a number of free recruitment tools and applicant tracking systems available for SMEs including Zoho Recruit, SmartRecruiters, Recruiterbox, Ikrut and Podio.

These are all web-based applications that are designed to help HR staff track and manage candidates efficiently. The fact they are free means the tools do have some limitations, for example, the number of users that can have accounts or number of candidates they can process. However, if you are looking to keep your HR budget to a minimum, whilst benefiting from automated, streamlined recruitment processes, any of these five will make a great choice.

Performance management and appraisal tools

If you are looking for an HR software tool for performance management and appraisal, we highly recommend taking a look at Sage 50 HR. This is a comprehensive HR tool designed specifically for SMEs. Not only will it notify you when appraisals are due and help you organise them, but it can also assist you in various other HR processes such as recruitment, onboarding, training management, task management, personal information management, asset management and reporting.


With so many fantastic HR software tools available for SMEs today, choosing between them can be a tough process. Whilst software reviews can help you get a better idea of the software’s features, we highly recommend using free trials (where possible) to get a feel for the tools and see if they are right for your business before committing to the cost.

For more information about the various different HR software tools for SMEs and how they could help your business, feel free to get in touch. Call Alistair on 01383 668178 or drop him an email at

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