In-depth Analysis

TriNet Zenefits Review 2024: Holistic HRIS and Payroll

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Written By
Julija A.
May 15, 2024
Some or all of the products/services listed on this page are from our affiliate partners from which we receive commissions. This, however, does not influence the evaluations in our reviews. Learn more by reading our Advertiser Disclosure.

Zenefits is a well-oiled, feature-packed and integrated HR machine. Acquired by TriNet in 2022, a PEO company, they provide a secure cloud-based HR and people management platform that offers everything small businesses, medium and even large businesses need to run their operation and save time on administration through its fully-integrated features.

Aside from an abundance of HRIS integrations, Zenefits provides an integrated payroll service, employee benefits, PTO tracking, time management tools, automated tax compliance and much more, all of which we’ve covered in our Zenefits review below.

Starting at $8/month per employee

Minimum $40/month (5 employees), annual deal

View Plans

Fortunly Rating

Fortunly's Rating: Our editorial team determines the rating based on a set of evaluation criteria developed for each product and service category.

HR management tools
Phone, email, live chat
Automated onboarding
PTO tracking
Integrated payroll
As an add-on feature
Tax & Filing compliance
Time & Scheduling
pros thumb up Strengths
  • Free consultation
  • Cheaper plans than market average
  • Full integration of employee data across the entire system
  • UX friendly layout and interface
  • Simple-to-learn, feature-packed user interface
  • Strong mobile support
  • Great automation systems
pros thumb up Weaknesses
  • Some features such as payroll processing come at extra cost
  • Slow customer support
  • Requires 5 employees as the minimum, a downside for small business owners

Vast Feature Integration, Limitless Capabilities - Our Zenefits Overview

Zenefits prides itself on the complete integration of all employee-centric tools available as part of its vast offering. We were quite pressed to think of any tools they potentially missed and were impressed to see the level of integration offered. That’s why we had to feature Zenefits among one of the best HRIS systems

Along with its mobile app, Zenefits’ HR platform offers a great deal of automation through the elimination of unnecessary administrative tasks that come with employee  management. In simple terms, they provide a one-time employee data entry solution along with the automatic integration of all HR, payroll and benefits systems, which saves you and your managers valuable time.

Zenefits also values your employees’ time through the Zenefits employee login and helps you sync your entire organization through features such as the company hub where your people can connect no matter where they are.

With so many features, we had to cover Zenefits in an ordered manner, so starting with their HR capabilities we’ve grouped all relevant tools together to help you decide if Zenefits is the right fit for your organization.

Zenefits Apps

Zenefits’ Flagship Product, their Human Resource Management System

As an employee-centric tool, Zenefits provides a plethora of important features and HR software solutions that include:

  • HR Admin
  • Onboarding
  • Time & Scheduling (Including PTO tracking)
  • Recruiting
  • People Analytics with integrated BI tools
  • Compensation management
  • Performance Management Tools & Goal Tracking
  • People Enablement & Connectivity

People Management Through Zenefits - Hiring & Onboarding

The hiring and onboarding process is a breeze through Zenefits’ related application. With easy integration of employee data, all it takes is one form to get people started. The data collected is then instantaneously available across all other Zenefits apps.

You can also run a background check in 2 clicks thanks to the integrations provided by the app, and with the ease of entry for new hires you can ensure that people understand your operation and their roles from day one, saving time on paperwork. Background checks are, however, paid for separately through an add-on feature and are provided for by Checkr.

Offer letters are also easy to create and manage through user-created templates, allowing for their quick adjustment and tracking through the cloud functionality of the platform. In just minutes, potential hires can quickly add all relevant information about themselves with zero need for paperwork and emails, helping you integrate them seamlessly into your organization once hired. 

Recruiting is powered by JazzHR which has been integrated into the Zenefits platform seamlessly, ensuring the benefits of a recruitment-focused platform without the requirement for multiple tools.

New hire information is also easily synced with all other apps and third party systems, such as Slack and Google which plug directly into Zenefits apps.

Time Tracking, Scheduling and PTO Policy Management

The Zenefits Time and Attendance app facilitates accurate tracking of PTOs, days off, important dates like collective days-off and holidays, all in real time.

It can help your managers save time on manual calculations while keeping them in the loop through push notifications about things like time-off requests and the wider status of their teams and departments. Zenefits calendars also easily integrate into Google, iCal and Outlook.

With the Time and Attendance app, managers can approve or disapprove days-off requests, track the status of their teams through digital clock-in features and plan their schedules accordingly.

The time tracking features are available in the mobile app and they’re very user friendly, which is something we saw as a big benefit for seamless remote clock-ins or for meetings during commutes. 

The best part about the Time and Attendance Zenefits app is the fact that this information automatically syncs with the HR and payroll apps, automatically increasing or deducting wages as per the preconfigured parameters, while also helping you stay compliant with regulations for things like overtime and holiday rates.

Important Employee Data Tracking - Zenefits People Analytics

Through the People Analytics app, an integrated BI tool powered by Visier, Zenefits helps you gather important and up-to-date data on your organization. You can quickly gather information about your workforce such as demographic spread, turnover rates, compensation spread, etc., all through a few simple clicks.

Zenefits People Analytics Tool

You can also create custom presentations of your organization’s data, and since all data is seamlessly integrated across the entire platform, there’s no time wasted on data mining and manual input.

Compensation Tracking and Management

Tracking compensation and ensuring that your organization's pay practices are meeting market demands is simple. Zenefits aggregates a vast amount of anonymous salary data from similar companies such as yours to help you define the right compensation for your employees, helping you retain top talent.

Zenefits Compensation Tracking Tool

Simplified Business Operations With Performance Management

Adding to the list of features, Zenefits offers a fully-integrated goal management and performance evaluation system that happily communicates with all of the features discussed above. We thought that the ability to create, assign and track business goals is a great feature as it helps employees visualize their personal input and see how it feeds into the wider aims of the team, department and organization.

Reviewing employee performance and integrating the results directly into HR and payroll is an outstanding feature that saves dozens of hours on manual tracking and cross-referencing. With Zenefits, all employee data feeds into the main system, allowing managers to quickly adjust goals while conducting performance reviews without affecting KPI structures.

Employee Engagement Through People Hub

Zenefits also offers an integrated internal social platform for your organization where you can keep your employees up to date through the built-in content feed. Particularly useful for remote workers, the People Hub keeps everyone engaged in one place and lets everyone see what their colleagues are up to while checking up on the wider company workflow.

The People Hub also streamlines employee encouragement and empowerment through integrated awards and mentions systems that help people stand out within the organization. It is also seamlessly integrated into the mobile app, available for both iOS and Android, making the colleague networking experience more accessible.

Zenefits Advisory Services

With such a vast and feature-packed platform on offer, dealing with important and well-regulated areas of work, Zenefits understands the need for and provides a complete advisory service to help you stay compliant and resolve organizational and HR hurdles. They can personally help you with:

  • Dealing with difficult employee situations
  • Handling compliance challenges
  • Reviewing company policies and handbooks
  • Navigating multi-state compliance
  • Understanding compliant procedures for employees with unique taxation circumstances
  • Dealing with wage garnishments and levies
  • Understanding overtime rules
  • Navigating employee terminations and final paychecks
  • And more

Compensation Management Simplified - Zenefits’ Payroll Systems

Zenefits offers a secure and compliant third party payroll software solution that’s extremely well integrated into their flagship HR product. Because of its seamless integration and automated tax and regulation compliance, we featured the Zenefits payroll on our list of the best payroll companies.

Seamless integration across the entire platform is what makes Zenefits’ payroll services stand out. Most payroll software logically focus on the payroll side first, however, with Zenefits, you’re getting a HR tool first with payroll integration, which in our mind is a better option because of the cross-integration and syncing of important employee data such as leave, PTOs used, time clocked in, etc.

New hire onboarding information is automatically updated to the payroll app, syncing basic info, employment, job details, payroll settings, health benefits and additional information immediately across the entire Zenefits ecosystem and your employee directory.

Salaries are automatically updated based on predefined settings and through the time tracking and scheduling app. Information on hours worked, breaks and time off are automatically synced allowing you to automate the process of compensation adjustments.

Benefit administration and adjustment is also synced with payroll. Employee enrolments in Zenefits benefits plans, which we have discussed below, are automatically deducted.

The payroll software is also extremely flexible, allowing you to adjust how Zenefits calculates pay for workers working part-time, providing services as contractors, freelancers, other contingent workers etc. It can also generate reports which include the following:

  • Payroll summaries
  • Payroll register reports
  • Deductions and contributions reports
  • Wage and tax summaries
  • Garnishments reports
  • Contractors payment reports
  • Employee details reports
  • Tax payments summary
  • Tax liability reports
  • Comprehensive ‘All-in-One’ reports

Streamlined Employee Benefits

As part of their wider advisory offering, Zenefits can help your employees pick and enroll for benefits while saving you time on manual input and salary deduction. They offer deals and benefits brokers to you and your entire organization, and you can even set up your existing brokers easily to give your employees a wide variety of benefit plans.

  • Compare plans with a few clicks
  • Offer competitive benefits to your employees
  • Hassle-free signups and automatic salary deductions
  • Local brokerage services provided by Zenefits, or sign-up with existing brokers
  • Compatibility evaluation is easy to access through the mobile-app

Tax & Regulatory Compliance - Automated Through Payroll

Zenefits automatically covers the most common US forms at the federal, state and local level for employees. They automatically calculate taxes and give you the option to pay them directly through the app. The payroll app also creates, files and formats W-2s and 1099s for the IRS.

The pay stubs created by Zenefits comply with requirements of most states and they provide support for FLSA overtime pay regulations if required. You can also report new hires to appropriate state agencies in-app.

Payroll also makes ACA compliance simple by helping you:

  • Generate, review, and provide 1095-C forms to your employees electronically
  • E-file your required 1094-C and 1095-C forms with the IRS
  • Monitor your employees’ ACA status

Zenefits Pricing

Even though, to cover a fully-integrated HR & payroll solution, requires additional costs per employee, we still thought that the Zenefits pricing structure works well when compared to similar offerings from their competitors. A Zenefits demo is also available and you can create a trial account to test out their key features.

Zenefits’ tiered structure, further segment by add-on features, provides a tailored solution to your HRIS and payroll needs, with the only downside being that you have to cover the minimum cost for 5 employees. You can still use Zenefits with less than 5 people onboard, but 5 is the minimum number required for the plans listed below.

Zenefits ESSENTIALS Plan
$8/month per employee
Automated onboarding, employee management, time off tracking, scheduling, integrations, and mobile app.

Zenefits GROWTH Plan
$16 / month per employee
Everything in ESSENTIALS plan + configurable people analytics, compensation management, and performance management.

Zenefits ZEN Plan
$21 / month per employee
Everything in GROWTH plan + employee engagement surveys, and people hub.

Payroll - strong integration with base features
+ $6/month per employee
Your Benefits Broker - use your own benefits broker (instead of Zenefits’ broker partners)
+ $5/month per employee
Advisory Services - access to aid from the Zenefits HR and payroll expert team
+ $8 /month per employee
Recruiting - integrate recruiting and onboarding into your Zenefits ecosystem
Starting at $35/month, call Zenefits for an exact quote

How Does Zenefit Compare?

TriNet Zenefits Logo
TriNet Zenefits

Starting at $8/month per employee

Mobile App:


Payroll Integration:

Available as an add-on

Available Baseline Features:

  • • HR administration
  • • Onboarding
  • • Compensation
  • • Performance management
  • • Time & scheduling
  • • Recruiting
  • • People analytics
  • • Advisory services
  • • Payroll administration
  • • Tax & filling
  • • Benefits administration
View Plans
BambooHR Logo

$99/month for 12 employees

Mobile App:


Payroll Integration:

Available as an add-on

Available Baseline Features:

  • • Onboarding
  • • Offboarding
  • • Applicant tracking system
  • • e-Signatures
  • • Employee wellbeing surveys
  • • Training tracking
  • • Customizable reports
  • • Phone and chat support
  • • Open API
Gusto Logo

$40/month + $6/month per person

Mobile App:


Payroll Integration:

Included in all plans

The Gusto mid level plan offers:

  • • Full-service multi-state payroll including W-2s and 1099s
  • • Next-day direct deposit
  • • Advanced hiring and onboarding tools
  • • PTO management and policies
  • • Time tracking and project tracking
  • • Workforce costing and reports
  • • Team management tools
  • • Full support

Our Final Thoughts on Zenefits

Given the scale and amount of available add-ons, we really appreciated Zenefits’ approach to streamlining people management. Zenefits isn’t just a people tracking and task management platform, they are also a fully-integrated business administration solution that can help you stay compliant and save time on repetitive admin tasks, regardless of the scale of your organization.

We thought that Zenefits particularly stood out amongst its competitors due to their upfront and simple-to-understand pricing policies, wide and customizable areas of integration and fair pricing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Does Zenefits run payroll?


Zenefits provides a fully-integrated payroll solution that’s linked seamlessly with their HR solutions. It’s an add-on feature that’s purchased separately, however the pricing is still quite competitive compared to other options on the HR tool marketplace.

Who owns Zenefits?


Zenefits is one of the TriNet subsidiaries. TriNet, a PEO company, acquired Zenefits in February of 2022.

What are the benefits of using Zenefits?


Thanks to seamless integration across critical areas of work including HR, recruitment, payroll, time tracking, scheduling, benefits, and more, Zenefits provides a holistic solution to people management. They help businesses save time and money on repetitive administrative tasks while increasing employee well-being through functional operational models.

What benefits do employees get at Zenefits?


Zenefits provides certified local brokers that can help your employees choose competitive benefits packages including health insurance, medical, dental, vision insurance, commuter benefits, 401(k) retirement plans, flexible savings accounts (FSA) supplemental benefits, health savings accounts (HSA). The benefits plans your employees choose are automatically synced with other areas of the Zenefits platform such as payroll, and you can also set up your own brokers for an additional fee if that’s something you prefer.

How much does Zenefits cost?


Their cheapest Essentials plan costs $8/month per person. Zenefits requires that you cover the cost of at least 5 employees which brings the price to $40/month minimum. Payroll integration is purchased separately for the cost of $6/month per employee.