Zenefits vs. ADP: Comparing Pricing, Features and Customer Service

Zenefits and ADP 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. 

Product Overviews 

 

Zenefits: Zenefits is an online platform that targets small-to-medium-sized businesses. It has six core “apps”: HR, time, benefits, compliance, payroll and a mobile site. Each core app (or hub) branches out into its own spokes – for example, the HR hub includes HR management, hiring and onboarding, an HR library, business intelligence and document management. Zenefits also integrates with G Suite (Google), Microsoft Office 365 and Slack. 

 

ADP: ADP provides a variety of payroll and HRMS products and services for all businesses. Its solutions are tailored to specific organizational sizes: small businesses (up to 50 employees), midsize businesses (50-999 employees), large businesses (1,000+ employees) and multinational companies. ADP partners with other businesses to provide additional services, such as accounting, financial advising, benefits administration and private equity. ADP offers payroll processing and tax filing services for companies that want to outsource those functions.

How They Stack Up 

Pricing 

Zenefits: Zenefits offers a free plan called Lite HR that includes some of its basic features, such as an employee directory, hiring, and basic onboarding and offboarding. There are two pricing plans: Standard and Advanced. The Standard plan costs $6 per user per month (with a $40 monthly base fee) and includes an HR platform, custom fields, business intelligence and document storage. The Advanced plan ($12 per user, per month with a $40 monthly base fee) includes additional features, such as time-off tracking, compliance features and HR resource library. Zenefits offers optional payroll ($4 per user, per month) and time and attendance ($5 per user, per month) features. 

ADP: Each ADP solution includes different tiers with its own set of features. There are also add-on features and service for each tier. For example, the ADP Workforce Now solution targeted to mid-sized businesses includes basic payroll, HR management, time and labor, and benefits administration features out of the box. Clients can optionally add on other features, such as absence management, recruiting, compensation and performance management. Regardless of product or service, ADP doesn’t publicly release pricing information. Instead, it requires prospective clients to ask them for a quote.  

Bottom Line: Zenefits offers a free plan with basic features, while ADP doesn’t. However, it does offer free payroll processing for up to two months for companies that want to outsource their payroll. As ADP’s pricing isn’t public, we recommend that you contact them directly to get the most accurate information. 

Payroll Functionality 

Zenefits: The Zenefits payroll platform integrates with Zenefits’ other apps, so payroll is automatically updated when there’s a change in employee status. For example, when a new hire is onboarded or a current employee is on vacation, those changes are automatically reflected in the payroll data. There’s a payroll timeline that includes a history of every payroll change for employees and a deductions dashboard for tracking each employee’s deductions.  

Zenefits also includes the following features at no additional cost: mobile pay stubs, W-2 processing, federal and state tax filing, and unlimited off-cycle and payroll runs. For companies that use Gusto, Intuit or Paychex as their payroll provider, Zenefits integrates with those solutions. It also integrates with ADP’s Workforce Now. 

ADP: The RUN Powered by ADP solution (for small businesses) makes it easy for businesses to run payroll in a few steps. It automatically calculates any deductions. It also calculates, files and pays federal, state and local taxes. ADP offers flexible ways for businesses to pay their employees, such as direct deposit, checks and prepaid VISA cards. W-2 and 1099 forms are also distributed and filed by ADP.  In addition, users have access to customized and built-in payroll reports, and payroll data can be exported to most accounting systems.  

ADP’s solutions for medium-sized and large-sized companies offer similar payroll features, although they have more advanced features than the RUN Powered by ADP. For instance, the ADP Workforce Now offers wage garnishment processing services built into the solution. 

Bottom Line: Both Zenefits and ADP have similar payroll features, such as efficient payroll processing and automatic tax filing, which is a benefit for small businesses. However, ADP has some advantages over Zenefits: It includes local tax filing, and employees can receive prepaid cards as payment. ADP also can process payroll and handle tax filing for companies that don’t have in-house resources, while Zenefits doesn’t offer this option. 

Customer Service 

Zenefits: All clients can access Zenefits’ online customer resources, such as the help center, how-to guides, a community forum and webinars. The help center has answers to commonly-asked questions on various Zenefits features and is sorted by information for administrators and employees. Users can contact Zenefits’ tech support team via their online accounts. 

Zenefits has a staff of HR specialists that users can contact for questions or issues that can crop up for human resources. 

ADP: 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 specifically targets administrative issues. 

Depending on the product package, ADP’s expert staff provides support on benefits administration and payroll (including contacting the IRS on the client’s behalf), gives HR resources to clients’ employees (HR help desk or forms library) or offers consults on HR strategy or day-to-day issues. And finally, ADP also provides local support to multinational companies. 

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.  

Shortcomings 

Zenefits: One main drawback of Zenefits is that its payroll solution only supports 30 states. There’s a waitlist if the state where your employees work is in one of the remaining 20 that Zenefits payroll doesn’t support. Some users also mentioned that customer support could be better. For example, reps were difficult to reach during implementation, resulting in missed deadlines for insurance open enrollment. Other users mentioned that Zenefits’ initial implementation support was good, but representatives became distant after launch. 

ADP: Users have reported that the online registration, login and password reset process have been tedious and not user-friendly (e.g., not allowing long passwords). They have also reported the Workforce Now solution has glitches, such as slow page downloads. Also, there tend to be delays in customer service response (e.g., being on hold for a long time) and cases of getting different answers from different customer service reps. 

Bottom Line: The most common shortcoming between the two vendors is that customer service is less than satisfactory. When evaluating each vendor, you should not only ask questions about their implementation and support, but also get client references. The vendor will likely provide a list of clients with the most positive experiences, but you’ll want clients that have similar needs to yours (such as same company size). You’ll want to ask the reference about both the positive and negative experiences with the software. 

Takeaways 

ADP has a long history in the payroll/HRMS space, having been established in 1949, while Zenefits is a relatively new player in the market (it debuted in 2013). The one main thing ADP has that Zenefits lacks is that its solutions are intended for business of all sizes, while Zenefits targets only small and medium-sized businesses. However, if we were to compare their small business offerings, ADP’s RUN platform doesn’t include hiring and onboarding features, while Zenefits does. 

Zenefits and ADP aren’t the only HRMS solutions on the market. We’ve reviewed over 35 HRMS solutions on our site for small, medium and large-sized companies. 

You can also download our side-by-side HRMS Comparison Guide where we’ve listed various attributes of each solution in a comprehensive spreadsheet.  

Finally, if you’re looking for a primer on HRMS solutions in general, head over to our Definitive Guide to HRMS. In it, we detail the benefits, features and what to look for when purchasing a solution.  

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