Choose your language:
  • You are here:
  • Home /
  • English blog /
  • Free HR systems: benefits and drawbacks you should know about

Free HR systems: benefits and drawbacks you should know about

gratis hr-system

Choosing the right HR system is a challenge for most organisations. It requires both the preparation of requirements, specifications, and research, and it can be difficult to compare different HR systems directly. Many people may think it's a good idea to choose a free HR system, but it's important to carefully consider the benefits and drawbacks before making that decision.

Key factors:

  • A free HR system is suitable for small organisations as it is cost-effective and easy to implement..
  • A free HR system offers limited functionality and complexity.
  • Free HR systems often require a high degree of self-sufficiency.

When discussing free HR systems in this blog post, we refer to vendors who offer a free platform without time restrictions, not vendors who offer a free trial period before it starts to cost. Some vendors offer a free trial version while others offer guided demos or a demo environment to explore the system in, but none of these offer a free HR system.

It is also important to be aware that many free tech systems hide some functionality behind payment walls to encourage the user to upgrade. Therefore, be sure to ask questions and do thorough research before choosing a free system, so that you do not risk being forced to pay for features that you thought were included. Even a free HR system will require implementation, training, and resources from you, so having to switch systems can be a costly affair even if the system itself is free.

To make it easier for you, we have summarised the pros and cons of choosing a free HR system.

Benefits of a free HR system

  • Cost effective: It is difficult to argue against the fact that one of the most obvious benefits of choosing a free HR system is that it does not cost anything. Organisations with a very limited budget, few employees, or small HR teams may be attracted to a free HR system because it can help save costs.

  • Basic HR functionality: A free HR system usually offers essential HR features such as personnel lists, simpler organisational structures, and sometimes very basic reporting. For small organisations with simple HR needs, a free HR system can provide enough functionality to meet their requirements.

  • Easy implementation and use: Since free HR systems have very low complexity and functionality, they are often easy to install, with minimal need for customisation. They usually have simple and user-friendly interfaces and do not require extensive training, making them accessible to HR teams with limited technical expertise.

Drawbacks of a free HR system

  • Limited functionality and scalability: Free HR systems lack advanced functionality and complexity that larger organisations or those with complex HR processes require. This can include advanced reporting, master data, continuous performance or talent management. A free system may also have limitations on the number of employees or users it can support, and this limits scalability as the organisation grows.

  • Security and compliance risks: A free HR system vendor is unlikely to have the same prerequisites to provide robust security features such as encryption or two-factor authentication, which can pose a risk to employee data. Additionally, free systems may not be compliant with relevant legislation, such as GDPR or GRC, which can result in challenges for organisations operating in regulated industries.

  • Limited support: Vendors of free systems usually do not offer extensive customer support, updates, or training, which can pose challenges in case of technical issues, operational issues, or questions about functionality. A free HR system may also have limited vendor resources, which can affect support and the longevity of the system.

It is also possible that the provider charges for instructional videos, system support, or other types of support, which means that you may have to solve problems on your own unless you are willing to pay for assistance.


An easy and free solution may be a good choice for some companies, but it is a compromise. If you choose a free HR system, you should be prepared to spend time compensating for the limitations it entails.

Choosing a free solution can provide cost-effective and basic HR functions, but it may also involve limitations in functionality, scalability, security, compliance, and support. Therefore, it is important for organizations in need of an HR system to carefully consider their needs, budget, and future growth plans before choosing a free solution. Regardless of your needs, you should create a clear requirement specification to make an informed decision that aligns with your organization's requirements and goals. Learn more about comparing HR systems here:

Anni Parent

Anni Parent, 20 June 2023

Anni Parent works as an Account Based Marketing specialist at CatalystOne. Anni's career has been an exciting journey in teaching, e-commerce, and digital marketing. After studying business development, she has in recent years worked with digital marketing and content at companies within B2B SaaS. Anni tries to stay up to date with the latest trends and technologies to help companies develop and achieve their goals.

Subscribe Here!