Which Is Best for Your Business in 2023?

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Rippling and TriNet Zenefits (formerly Zenefits) offer all-in-one HR software that allows you to manage employee onboarding, payroll, benefits, and more. Rippling offers better HR features and services, robust automation tools, and a much broader number of integrations. On the other hand, TriNet Zenefits has a wider suite of HR solutions for managing the employee lifecycle while automating many of the compliance tasks for you.

Here are our recommendations to help you determine whether Rippling vs Zenefits is right for your business.

  • Rippling: Best for tech-heavy companies looking for HR, payroll, and IT tools
  • TriNet Zenefits: Best for small and growing businesses in highly regulated industries

Rippling vs Zenefits Compared

*Pricing is based on a quote we received; includes payroll, time tracking, and access to Rippling’s core workforce management platform

If you think Rippling and TriNet Zenefits are similar platforms, then you are correct. Parker Conrad, the former CEO of Zenefits, is Rippling’s creator. The big difference? Rippling is designed to handle both employee and IT management.

Small businesses and companies that rely heavily on technology and business software typically want online tools that automate day-to-day tasks and work well together. Rippling can help minimize the administrative work for HR and IT, making it possible for you to streamline the entire employee lifecycle, including the IT provisioning and deprovisioning processes. Rippling even has robust integration options, allowing you to connect its platform to 500+ software that most businesses use.

It’s also ideal for employers without an in-house IT team because Rippling can help you track the inventory of company computers—it even stores devices in its warehouse for you. And if you need expert assistance in handling day-to-day HR and payroll but don’t have an in-house HR team, Rippling has a flexible professional employer organization (PEO) service you can use, as well as employer of record (EoR) solutions for hiring and paying global employees.

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While TriNet Zenefits may not have the IT tools that Rippling offers, its base platform has all the essential solutions you need to manage employees, onboard new hires, plan shift schedules, and track performance reviews. Its compensation planning tools even provide you with real-time comparison salary data and custom benchmark compensation reports to help you better understand how much to pay employees.

What’s also great about TriNet Zenefits is that it can help assess, track, and report on your employees’ well-being. This enables you to identify problem areas that impact employee productivity, allowing you to come up with employee wellness ideas to proactively address workplace stress.

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Alternatives to Rippling and Zenefits

Best for Value: Rippling

*Rippling’s pricing is based on a quote we received

It’s difficult to compare Zenefits vs Rippling in terms of pricing because both use different pricing schemes. TriNet Zenefits charges a monthly fee per employee, while Rippling’s monthly pricing consists of a base platform fee and per-employee costs. Although, what’s great about Rippling is that it can create a custom quote based on the solutions you need and the number of employees you have—provided you get its core workforce management platform. Overall, Rippling is slightly less expensive than TriNet Zenefits, especially if you only want basic HR and payroll tools.

For example, if you have 35 workers and only need payroll, time tracking, and employee information management solutions, Rippling will charge you $315 per month (computed as 35 employees X $8 + $35 base fee). With TriNet Zenefits, you have to shell out $560 monthly (computed as 35 employees X $16) for its Essentials plan with a payroll add-on.

Note that if you get other Rippling solutions (such as learning management, applicant tracking, and device management), you may end up having to pay more with this provider. However, it’s still a great choice if you don’t have a limited budget and need HR, payroll, and IT tools that integrate seamlessly with one another. Plus, it has PEO and EoR services, solutions that TriNet Zenefits doesn’t offer.

If having easy access to pricing information is a major determining factor for your small business, then Rippling may not be right for you, as its plans aren’t as transparent as those of TriNet Zenefits. And while both have a core HR platform that includes the basics (with payroll and other solutions costing extra), TriNet Zenefits offers additional plans that add more HR features. In contrast, Rippling has only one plan for its base platform, and you have to buy that before you can purchase its other solutions, such as time and PTO tracking—features that TriNet Zenefits offers in all of its tiers.

Best for Payroll: Rippling

In the battle between Rippling vs Zenefits for payroll functionalities, Rippling earned a higher rating than its competitor, beating TriNet Zenefits by a full point (4.75 vs 3.75). Its solid payroll tools with unlimited pay runs and automatic tax filings contributed to its high score. Businesses with distributed teams outside the US will also benefit from Rippling’s international payroll tools, as it helps you compliantly pay global workers in 50 countries.

Plus, running payroll with Ripping is easy. Its integrated suite of HR solutions syncs all of your employee information (such as salary and work hours details) with its payroll module, removing the need for manual calculations and data entries. And with Rippling’s dynamic general ledger mapping, you can create custom policies to sync payroll and expenses data every month and automatically categorize account fields (TriNet Zenefits’ general ledger reporting isn’t as robust).

Rippling process payroll in just a few clicks.

Rippling can process payroll in as fast as 90 seconds. (Source: Rippling)

If you want strong payroll compliance support, TriNet Zenefits offers automated tools to ensure that you’re up-to-date with the latest labor laws and regulations. Apart from automatically calculating and filing payroll taxes, it provides pay stubs that comply with the requirements of most states. Its platform also has a compliance calendar so you don’t miss important deadlines and built-in safeguards to prevent payroll mistakes, such as overpaying a worker and missing Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime pay rules for eligible employees.

TriNet Zenefits Processing Payroll.

With TriNet Zenefits, you can run payroll with just a few clicks. (Source: TriNet Zenefits)(Source: TriNet Zenefits)

Best in HR Features: Rippling

Having an efficient human resource information system (HRIS) makes data transfers—be it employee information, salary details, or actual hours worked—seamless between solutions. It also ensures that you have a single source of reliable information across systems as you manage HR and payroll tasks. Both Rippling and Zenefits offer similar HRIS and HR features, but there are a few things that Rippling can do that TriNet Zenefits can’t.

Rippling’s IT management solution allows you to manage your employees’ devices right from the platform with your staff information as its basis for assigning and terminating computer and business software access. This makes it the right choice for tech-heavy companies.

Its PEO option also pushes it ahead of TriNet Zenefits, as it bridges the gap between self-service and full HR management by handling all payroll and HR functions for your small business. As a PEO, Rippling acts as the employer of record (EoR) for payroll and tax purposes and pools small businesses to offer large company benefits, such as reduced-cost medical insurance.

In addition, its health plan coverage is more robust—50 states compared to TriNet Zenefits’ 49 states (Hawaii excluded). Rippling, which is our leading HR software for small businesses, even offers a fully automated learning management solution. You can set up training enrollment rules, and its system will handle the rest—from assigning learning courses to employees and sending reminders to tracking training progress and storing certifications.

Rippling’s extensive HRIS features and efficient workflow automation are among the reasons it topped our list of the best HRIS software.

While both have advanced HR features, Rippling and Zenefits offer different types—and at an additional cost. However, TriNet Zenefits has a few HR solutions that Rippling doesn’t provide. And if these features are important to your business, it would make Zenefits a better option for you.

For instance, if you need compensation planning tools, Rippling only offers a compensation report that helps you track where you’re spending money on wages and salary. TriNet Zenefits, on the other hand, provides a compensation management product that brings in external wage data from its other customers, so you can gauge how your employee salaries measure up. It also offers a performance management tool that Rippling doesn’t have, including online solutions for measuring employee well-being and running engagement surveys.

Best for Reporting: Tie

In our evaluation of Rippling vs Zenefits for reporting, we found they have similar tools. They offer customizable reports and the capability of creating new ones within their systems. Reports can also be exported for use within multiple departments. However, neither offers a large selection of canned (preformatted) reports.

Best for Ease of Use & Customer Support: TriNet Zenefits

Being able to easily and effectively use software can help a company’s bottom line by allowing employees and managers to focus on their job duties. Both Rippling and Zenefits offer an intuitive interface with an online setup wizard and software integration options. Additionally, they offer a chat feature to answer immediate questions directly from their platforms.

Where TriNet Zenefits wins in this category is by offering live phone support that you don’t have to pay for—although you need to provide your Zenefits ID and case reference number (which you can get via its online Zen Assistant tool). With Rippling, you have to purchase its HR help desk add-on, which includes email and phone support.

Also, if you don’t need the robust IT tools and workflow automation that Rippling offers, then TriNet Zenefits is right for you. Plus, if you’re a Paychex or ADP payroll system user, TriNet Zenefits can connect its platform with either of the two (currently offered through Pay Connect Sync). This means you can add TriNet Zenefits seamlessly to your existing payroll processes without having to switch providers. Rippling, even with its 500+ partner apps, doesn’t integrate with Paychex and ADP.

Rippling’s limited customer support is ideal for those adept in managing cloud-based software and that have enough HR and payroll expertise that they don’t require constant support. It’s also great for business owners who don’t have limited budgets and are willing to spend extra to get Rippling’s HR help desk solution.

Best for Popularity Among Users: Rippling

*Data from third-party review sites (such as G2 and Capterra)

Both providers scored well for popularity based on the number of user reviews and average overall ratings on third-party review sites. However, Rippling outscored TriNet Zenefits. As of this writing, Rippling earned an average user rating of 4.85 out of 5 compared to TriNet Zenefits’ average of 4.10.

While both Rippling and Zenefits have a lot of positive reviews, users seem to prefer Rippling. They like how robust and user-friendly the software is and how easy it is to manage employees in one place.

What users don’t like is the slow response time of both providers’ customer support teams. Additionally, integration with third-party software is a concern for many as it is either unavailable or glitchy. Some reviewers said that both systems can get a bit pricey, especially if you purchase all of its add-ons.

Thinking of changing your payroll system?

Read our guide on how to switch payroll providers. It contains helpful tips to make the transition easier for your business.

How We Evaluated Rippling vs Zenefits

We compared Rippling vs Zenefits by using a five-star rating scale to bring you the best analysis of the two. We considered transparent pricing and advanced HR features (such as benefits administration and employee onboarding functionality) among our top criteria. We also looked at ease of use and customer support.

Click through the tabs below for a more detailed breakdown of our evaluation criteria.

35% of Overall Score

We looked for HR services and functions like online onboarding, state new hire reporting, self-service portals, and a staff of expert advisers. We also gave additional points to software providers offering health insurance available in all 50 states and advanced HR solutions like hiring, compensation, learning, and performance management.

20% of Overall Score

We gave the most credit to solutions that process direct deposits in two days or less, have multiple payment options, handle year-end tax reporting, manage tax payments and filings (federal, state, and local taxes), and offer a penalty-free guarantee.

20% of Overall Score

We looked for features that make the software easy to use, such as having an interface that’s intuitive and customizable. Extra points were given to providers that offer integration options, set-up assistance, live phone support, and a dedicated representative.

15% of Overall Score

We checked to see if the provider has transparent pricing, zero setup fees, and multiple plan options with unlimited pay runs. We also gave additional points to those with plans that cost $1,200 or less per year for 10 employees.

5% of Overall Score

Preference was given to software with built-in basic payroll reports and customization options.

5% of Overall Score

We considered online user reviews—including those of our competitors like G2 and Capterra—based on a 5-star scale, wherein any option with an average of 4+ stars is ideal. Also, software with 1,000 or more reviews on third-party sites is preferred.

*Percentages of overall score

Bottom Line

After our extensive comparison of Rippling vs Zenefits, Rippling came out as the clear winner. It offers the best HR solutions that a small business needs to be successful in employee onboarding, payroll, benefits administration, time and attendance tracking, and reporting.

While pricing isn’t as transparent and is a little more expensive overall than TriNet Zenefits, Rippling has a wider suite of solutions, including IT tools to manage your employees’ business software access and company-assigned computers. Sign up for a Rippling plan today.

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