Breadth of Services
Help and Support
Ease of Use
Written by: Natalie Fell
Natalie is a writer with experience in operations, HR, and training & development within the software, healthcare, and financial services sectors.
Reviewed by: Daniel Eisner
Daniel Eisner is a payroll specialist with over a decade of practical experience in senior accounting positions.
Updated on July 14, 2023
Zenefits is a cloud-based HR software platform designed to streamline and automate HR and payroll tasks for small to mid-sized businesses.
In this review, we’ll take a deep dive into its features, pricing, and customer support to help you determine if it’s the right fit for your business needs. From onboarding and benefits management to compliance and reporting, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Zenefits.
Let’s get started!
Breadth of Services
Help and Support
Ease of Use
Zenefits’ platform of HR business solutions was made specifically for small and mid-sized businesses, which often face challenges disproportionate to their size and resources.
Zenefits’ mission is to “level the playing field for the other 99.7%”, meaning the smaller businesses that keep our economy running. The company provides “innovative and intuitive HR and payroll software and services purpose-built” for smaller companies.
Zenefits offers three different service levels. We explored all of the options, as detailed below.
|Price||Monthly: $10/mo per employeeAnnually: $8/mo per employee||Monthly: $18/mo per employeeAnnually: $14/mo per employee||Monthly: $27/mo per employeeAnnually: $21/mo per employee|
|Time Off Tracking||x||x||x|
|Employee Engagement Surveys||x|
NOTE: Payroll services are sold as an add-on feature for $6 per employee, per month.
The Zenefits Essentials plan costs $8 per month per employee for annual customers and $10 per month per employee for monthly subscribers. The plan includes onboarding support, time tracking and employee management tools, and a mobile app.
The Zenefits Essentials plan comes with a variety of features and benefits. The automated onboarding feature includes offer letter generation, background check support, and digital documents with electronic signature capabilities. There’s also an employee self-onboarding feature where employees can complete and submit their new hire paperwork.
The Essentials plan also comes with time tracking and reporting features to help businesses manage their PTO policies. The scheduling feature allows management to create and edit shifts and it also integrates seamlessly with the Zenefits payroll system. There’s also a user-friendly mobile app for employers and employees to access information on the go.
The Zenefits Growth plan is priced at $14 per month per employee for annual customers and $18 per month per employee for monthly subscribers. It includes everything from the Essentials plan with added compensation and performance management benefits.
The Zenefits Growth plan includes all of the features from the Essentials plan plus compensation and performance management benefits. The compensation management features include real-time comparison salary data that can be integrated into an organizational chart. You can also create custom salary benchmark reports.
With the performance management benefit, businesses can improve employee performance with user-friendly, easy to administer tools. A full suite of performance review templates are available as well as goal setting and tracking features.
The Zenefits Zen plan is priced at $21 per month per employee for annual customers and $27 per month per employee for monthly subscribers. In addition to all of the benefits within the Essentials and Growth plans, the Zen plan includes employee engagement survey tools and an interactive company social platform.
The Zenefits Zen plan includes all of the above plus employee engagement survey tools and an interactive social platform called the People Hub. The employee engagement tools allow clients to customize their own surveys or use pre-built templates.
The reporting features allow results to be filtered by employee demographics and you can view answers on a question-by-question basis. Feedback is collected anonymously to help keep employee responses private and confidential.
The Zenefits People Hub is a customizable company social feed where administrators and employees can post announcements. It has interactive features such as the ability to like posts and comment to ask questions.
Payroll services from Zenefits are priced as an add-on feature of $6 per month per employee and include a robust suite of features, making it a great value. All of the payroll features are built to “sync” and integrate seamlessly with Zenefits core plans.
Integrated Payroll Features:
Payroll Administration Features:
Taxes & Filing:
All three Zenefits plans come with onboarding support, such as customizable offer letter templates with online offer acceptance and digital signatures. You can also run background checks through Checkr, a Zenefits partner.
Employees can access and complete their new hire paperwork through the Zenefits mobile app, including their W-4 and I-9 forms. Employers can also easily set up new hire software accounts through the Zenefits account provisioning tools.
If you’re interested in a more robust suite of hiring and recruitment packages, including access to a world-class applicant tracking system (ATS), Zenefits offers a suite of recruiting packages from $35 per month to $323 per month.
When it comes to managing employee benefits, Zenefits offers two options to fit your business needs. If you have a benefits broker, Zenefits allows you to continue working with your broker and integrate their plans onto the Zenefits platform.
If you would like to use your existing broker and manage your plans through Zenefits, there is an additional cost of $5 per month per employee. If you aren’t working with a benefits broker, Zenefits also allows you to access the market’s best plans at competitive prices through one of their certified broker partners. Pricing varies depending on your needs.
The available reporting options are detailed and diverse. Though the system lacks a custom report writer, it does automatically provide a variety of special case reports, in addition to a useful section focused on morale and work-life balance.
Finding an accounting report like bank transactions in the same set as payroll information like deductions was rather unusual, but it was still easy to find the report I needed.
Overall, the website is simple and user-friendly. The front page helpfully presents a calendar with relevant dates and a full list of apps. The side-bar is informative and well organized.
I especially liked the integration with other tools, such as email and accounting. Perhaps most importantly, the list of apps on the front page can be customized, so you can avoid seeing tools and features you don’t use.
Running payroll was simple and painless. I was able to view history and pending submissions and download a preview spreadsheet of the current cycle before submitting.
Although the initial preview only shows a summary of each payroll category, the preview report offers greater detail. Having the preview as an Excel sheet is perfect for accounting. Entering a journal entry and being able to compare it to previous payrolls helps ensure consistency.
Zenefits is definitely a contender for top payroll service. The information is well organized and the focus on 21st-century HR, with concepts like wellness and work-life balance, will be appreciated by younger staffers.
Smaller companies may find this to be more information than needed, but for medium-sized and growing firms, this is a strong choice.
The Zenefits website is user-friendly. The plans are easy to find, with good detail on features and pricing. You can even get more information on each individual service. It’s laid out well and easy to understand. The site also has a robust help center where you can get information on a variety of topics.
To begin the signup and purchase process for one of the Zenefits plans, head to the pricing page on the website and click the Add to Cart button underneath the plan of your choice.
Next, enter your email address.
The next step requires you to enter your contact information and company size.
Once you click on the Finish button at the bottom, your account will be created. You then have a choice to try Zenefits before purchasing or schedule a demo with a sales representative.
If you choose to try before you buy, the next screen will ask which features you’d like to try.
You’ll then be brought to your Zenefits account where you can test out the features. Once you’re ready to commit to a subscription, you can click on the Checkout button at the top of the screen.
If you choose to ask questions, you will be brought to a page where you can schedule a demo or chat with a customer service representative.
Zenefits has a mobile app for both Apple and Android users. Business owners and their teams can access the platform to manage their payroll and HR processes. Employees can access the app as well to update their personal information, enroll in benefits, and complete other HR-related tasks.
Canceling your Zenefits account is fairly straightforward. To provide notice that you’d like to cancel your account, contact the Zenefits customer service team.
If you have an annual subscription, you will not be able to cancel it mid-contract. You can provide notice of cancellation at any point up until 30 days before your scheduled renewal date. However, your subscription will not be canceled until that renewal date. You are responsible for any outstanding billing amounts that will come due between the cancellation request and the renewal date.
Monthly subscriptions may be canceled any time with 30 days advance notice.
The Zenefits website is quite user-friendly overall, and information is easy to find. If you have all your information handy, you can complete the signup process in just a few minutes. The opportunity to demo the products before purchasing is a huge advantage.
The site is not very “salesy” and simply seems to guide you toward the right plan for your company. It offers an excellent customer experience.
We tested all three forms of Zenefits customer support, as detailed below.
The Zenefits chatbot is intuitive based on your activity on the website. To begin a chat, you can choose from a few pre-populated prompts.
We tried to ask the chatbot about the cancellation policy, but it didn’t understand our question
We tried to ask the chatbot about the cancellation policy, but it didn’t understand our question.
We wanted to continue to chat to see if we could reach a live agent, but it appears as though the ability to chat further was removed. We decided to reach out to customer service via email instead.
We contacted the Zenefits customer service by phone and reached a representative within a couple of minutes. The representative asked us if we were a current Zenefits customer and we said we were not. They asked if we had questions about the plans and we asked for information on how to sign up when we were ready to purchase.
The representative let us know that we could start the process online and informed us of where to go on the website. They also offered to connect us with a sales representative if we had further questions, but we declined and thanked them for their time.
We sent an email to the Zenefits customer care team inquiring about cancellation and received a response within 24 hours. The representative was friendly and explained the difference between canceling a monthly plan and an annual plan and instructed us to reach out to customer support. They also included a link to Zenefits’ cancellation policy.
Overall, Zenefits offers advantages and drawbacks, as detailed below.
Parker Conrad and Laks Srini started Zenefits in 2013 to help startup companies and small businesses find insurance quotes and manage employee benefits. The company expanded into broader HR solutions after acquiring more capital from investors.
In February 2022, HR service provider TriNet acquired Zenefits, which was officially renamed Trinet Zenefits. The current CEO is Jay Fulcher and the company is headquartered in San Francisco, with roughly 500 employees.
ADP offers four different payroll service plans based on different business needs. But their prices are tailored to each potential client, so it’s difficult to compare costs. ADP is also an established player in payroll, which offers more HR support than Zenefits. ADP has an A+ rating with the BBB, though its customer review score is low.
Gusto has three plans priced at a monthly rate plus per-employee fees. Gusto is specifically known for payroll solutions, whereas Zenefits is a more comprehensive HR solutions platform. Gusto, however, has an F rating with the BBB.
OnPay offers one basic payroll service plan. OnPay also has similar HR support and software integrations as Zenefits. OnPay has solid ratings with Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau, but mixed customer reviews.
We take our responsibilities seriously. We understand that countless entrepreneurs, and business owners, rely on our judgments and insights, particularly when it comes to creating their business.
As a result, our writers do their utmost to gain a comprehensive understanding of the services offered and the actual customer experience. In this case, we:
Thanks to this full immersion in the actual customer experience, our reviewer and team are able to provide the most complete and insightful review of Zenefits payroll services.
Overall, we were pleased with our Zenefits experience. The site is easy to use, information is readily available, and sign up is fast. The ability to demo the product before committing to a purchase is a huge plus for business owners.
Our experience with customer service was mostly positive, as we had good interactions with them over the phone and email. However, the live chat feature is a bit confusing.
Zenefits’ services are an outstanding value and include a variety of features and benefits. The one major downside is that payroll services are an add-on. But the pricing is still very attractive and considerably more affordable than competitors.