Zenefits vs. ADP: Compare Core HRMS Capabilities and More

Note: ADP sells a variety of payroll and HR solutions targeted to company sizes: ADP RUN (for small businesses), ADP Workforce Now (for mid-sized and large businesses) and ADP Vantage (for large, multinational U.S.-based companies). This comparison post will focus on ADP RUN.

Zenefits and ADP RUN are two cloud-based human resource management systems (HRMSs) that focus strongly on payroll, benefits and HR task management. While ADP has a long-time history of providing payroll software and services, it also offers other HR features, such as time tracking and recruiting. 

In this post, we’ll compare each software solution on various factors to help businesses make the right purchasing decision. 

What is the Difference Between Zenefits and ADP RUN?

  • Zenefits’ pricing is displayed up front, while ADP RUN requires a custom quote.
  • Although both software solutions contain robust payroll functionality, it’s optional with Zenefits, while standard on ADP RUN.
  • Companies can offer their employees commuting benefits via Zenefits, while they can look into additional insurance offered by ADP RUN, such as commercial auto or property insurance.
  • Time tracking and scheduling are standard features in Zenefits, while ADP RUN requires an optional integration with ADP’s dedicated timekeeping solution.

Product Overviews


Zenefits is an online HR suite that creates a central cloud-based hub for all employee data. By connecting all HR tools and services to one, easy-to-use dashboard, it improves efficiency by automating processes, reducing repetition and eliminating the need for paperwork. Businesses can easily complete tasks like open enrollment, online renewal, viewing plans and costs, printing insurance cards and more.


ADP RUN is a web-based payroll and HRMS solution specifically designed for small businesses with fewer than 50 employees. It has an intuitive interface with streamlined features so small business owners can focus on critical aspects of running an organization.

Users can run payroll quickly from any device. ADP’s automatic tax features help owners keep on top of federal and state regulations so they’re in compliance. RUN also includes a mobile app for accessing features outside the office.

Features Comparison

Payroll & Tax


With Zenefits’ payroll functionality, companies can enter and approve employee’s time data, reduce errors and ensure their hourly employees are paid accurately and on time. It handles a company’s taxes automatically from processing W-2s to filing federal and state taxes. Additional features include automatic new hire state reporting, automated prorated payments for new hires, automatic payroll reminders, pay previews, bulk earnings uploading, garnishment, the ability to pay contractors, direct deposits, a tips report (for restaurant workers) and custom earning codes. Administrators can run payroll reports on various metrics like wage and tax summary, job costing and payroll register, to name a few. Finally, employees will have lifetime access to their Zenefits account, so they can look up their info even after they’ve left the company.


ADP RUN has a four-step processing for running payroll. As employee hours are automatically pulled from the ADP Timekeeping Plus Scheduling solution, administrators can review time worked for the current pay period. They’ll then make necessary edits (e.g., changing rate, hours or bonuses), preview all of the data and approve payroll. Additional features include federal and state tax filing, direct deposit, check printing, garnishments and the prepaid Wisely debit card.

Bottom Line

Both Zenefits and ADP RUN have similar payroll features, such as efficient payroll processing and automatic tax filing, which is a benefit for small businesses. However, Zenefits doesn’t offer the ability for employees to receive prepaid debit cards as payment, whereas ADP does. ADP also can process payroll for companies that don’t have in-house resources, while this service isn’t available with Zenefits. 

Benefits Administration


Zenefits specializes in simplifying benefits management through an online portal. Customers can find resources and quotes, update information, minimize compliance risks and keep up to date with the latest legislation, all in one place.  Zenefits supports medical, vision and dental benefits in 49 states, as well as additional benefits, such as 401(k), life insurance, flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and commuter benefits.

Companies can work with their own benefits broker or choose a broker from a list of Zenefits’ certified partner network. Note that they may need to pay an add-on fee for working with their own broker, but choosing a Zenefits broker is free. Finally, Zenefits offers optional services, such as Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) that automatically sends employee enrollment changes to health insurance companies, open enrollment plan building services and insurance carrier management.


ADP RUN has optional benefits administration features via an integration with ADP’s Business Insurance and Retirement Services programs. Employees can enroll in and track benefits plans via a web browser or a mobile app. Users can run analytics and benchmarking data to help them measure their benefits strategy.

ADP’s Business Insurance program has a variety of options, such as group health insurance, workers’ compensation, commercial auto insurance, property and casualty insurance, and a business owner’s policy. There’s also the Pay-by-Pay Premium Payment feature that automates workers’ insurance premium payments by calculating and collecting payments via ADP RUN and sending them to insurance carriers each pay period.

ADP’s Retirement Services has comprehensive plans (e.g., 401(k), 403(b), SIMPLE IRA), employee education programs and access to investment management advice.

Bottom Line

While both solutions provide similar benefits features, Zenefits offers commuter benefits, whereas ADP RUN does not. Also, ADP offers companies other insurance options like commercial auto and property/casualty insurance, if necessary.

Hiring & Onboarding


Zenefits’s optional recruiting feature, powered by JazzHR, lets administrators manage their hiring process. They can create a job post and send it to job boards and social media sites, rank top applicants and candidates, send offer letters using prebuilt templates and onboard new hires. New hires can complete their paperwork electronically, as well as automatically get access to their new accounts on other applications the company uses, such as Slack or Google Suite. Zenefits is integrated with Checkr for comprehensive background checks on candidates.


ADP RUN has built-in integration with ZipRecruiter, where recruiters can post job ads to many job boards and sites and manage their candidate pipelines. In addition, the software has background checks and new-hire onboarding features, including the ability to report new hires to the federal and state regulatory agencies.

Bottom Line

Both vendors have similar recruiting features. However, Zenefits users who want recruiting functionality would need to pay an add-on fee, while ADP RUN’s native ZipRecruiter integration is standard in all of its pricing plans except for its Essential Payroll tier.

Time & Attendance


Zenefits has a scheduling tool that lets managers create, edit and send shift schedules to their employees. They can also block out specific dates in the schedule, set up a schedule based on roles or times, track overtime hours and approve paid time off (PTO). Employees can also clock in and out via the desktop or a Zenefits mobile app. Additional features include time card fraud protection, real-time reporting and compliance.


ADP RUN can optionally integrate with the ADP Timekeeping Plus Scheduling software. The ADP Timekeeping Plus Scheduling software includes a team dashboard where managers can see employee schedules, absences, hours worked, time-off requests and timecard statuses in one place. Employees can clock in and out via a computer, a mobile device or a time clock, and they can also use the biometric scanning or badge reading features within the ADP Time Kiosk. The software automatically calculates employee hours and sends them to payroll, so managers would only need to manage any exceptions (e.g., missed punches). Managers can also schedule shifts based on availability or skills, and employees can use the mobile app to see their schedules, request coverage or swap shifts with their co-workers.

Bottom Line

Zenefits’ time and attendance features are included in all of its plans, whereas this feature for ADP RUN is available via an optional integration. Also, Zenefits doesn’t support hardware time clocks, while ADP’s timekeeping solution does.



Zenefits also offers three levels of pricing: Essentials, Growth and Zen. The Essentials plan costs $10 per employee, per month and includes automated onboarding, employee management, time off tracking, scheduling, a mobile app, integration with most third-party applications and an analytics dashboard. The Growth plan costs $20 per employee, per month, and includes additional features, such as compensation management, performance management and configurable people analytics. The Zen plan ($33 per employee, per month) adds on employee engagement surveys, payroll and a People Hub (a centralized hub where employees can see and participate in company feeds and track tasks).

Zenefits offers optional payroll ($6 per user, per month) for users on the Essentials and Growth plans, recruiting (starting at $35 per employee, per month), benefits ($5 per employee, per month if company wants to use their existing broker; free for companies that use a broker from Zenefits’ partner network) and advisory services ($8 per employee, per month).


ADP RUN has four pricing tiers.

Essential Payroll – The Essential Payroll tier targets companies that only need basic payroll and HR functionality. It includes direct deposit, check printing, the Wisely direct debit card, reporting, a general ledger interface, tax filing, W2 and 1099 forms, employee self-service, new hire onboarding multi-jurisdiction payroll, background checks, employee discounts and marketing services with Google Ads.

Enhanced Payroll – This tier gives companies additional payroll features, including check signing and stuffing, state unemployment insurance management, labor law poster compliance, paycheck garnishment services and integration with ZipRecruiter.

Complete Payroll & HR Plus – This tier adds on an employee handbook wizard, HR HelpDesk (phone and email support from ADP’s staff), salary benchmarks, an HR forms library, HR tracking and HR training and toolkits.

HR Pro – HR Pro has even more advanced features, including enhanced HR HelpDesk and employee handbook support, employer and employee training courses, sexual harassment prevention training programs, an applicant tracking system and a learning management system.

ADP has a limited-time offer where the first three months of the RUN subscription are free. The company doesn’t publicly release its pricing information, so contact it directly for a quote.

Bottom Line

Both Zenefits and ADP RUN have pricing tiers that companies can enroll in based on the features they need. However, Zenefits lists its pricing up front, while ADP prefers to provide prospects a custom quote.

Customer Support


Zenefits offers an online Help Center that includes articles on various topics. Administrators can also contact the support team by email, phone or chat.

If a company chooses to manage its benefits through Zenefits, a benefits representative will be assigned to the company as a consistent point of contact. Zenefits also has an optional advisory service that guides administrators on complex payroll and HR situations.


ADP offers different support sites for employees and client administrators. The employee support site has several resources, including answers to common questions, guides on troubleshooting year-end form issues, and phone numbers and links for issues related to payroll or benefits. The client administrator support site has similar content, but it specifically targets administrative issues.

Depending on the pricing tier, ADP’s expert staff provides support on benefits administration and payroll (e.g., contacting the IRS on the client’s behalf), HR resources to clients’ employees and consultations on HR strategy or day-to-day issues.

Bottom Line

Both vendors provide comprehensive resources and webinars to help administrators and employees with HR topics, software features or troubleshooting issues. They also have expert HR staff members for HR guidance. However, the main difference is in contacting the vendor for further support. While Zenefits users can contact tech support straight from the platform, ADP’s end users need to contact their employer if they need help that’s not found on ADP’s support page.  

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