Four open source SMB-centric human resource management systems

We help reduce the stress of the human resource management solution selection process by narrowing your choices down to these four open source small business-friendly options.

With the right software, you can make the human resources aspect of your small business a well-oiled, efficient machine. Instead of scrambling to remember how much vacation time an employee has taken, you can just open your human resources management (HRM) solution. Need to gather and mine data for employee performance reports? Your HRM platform has that at the ready for you, too.

I found four outstanding software titles that won't cost you a penny but will offer every feature you need to keep your HR department running smoothly.

1: SimpleHRM

SimpleHRM (Figure A) offers an open source version of its professional platform. This version offers time management, and it can be installed on either a WAMP (Windows Apache MySQL PHP) or LAMP (Linux Apache MySQL PHP) server.

Once installed, SimpleHRM offers every feature you need to solidify your HRM department: employee information, leave management, travel management, expense management, benefit management, and task reporting. SimpleHRM allows you to assign a CV to an employee and define eligibility for rehire. Each major module offers plenty of granular control, and the user interface is well laid out.

The installation requires the Apache rewrite module be installed and enabled (the steps for this will vary, depending upon the platform), and you will need to create the MySQL database prior to installation. Outside of that, the installation for SimpleHRM is as simple as downloading the file and unpacking it in your document root, pointing your browser to the newly created folder (i.e., http://ADDRESS_TO_SERVER/SIMPLE_HRM_FOLDER), and walking through the web-based installation.

Figure A



2: OrangeHRM

OrangeHRM (Figure B) is a powerhouse human resources tool that any small or midsize business can benefit from using. With OrangeHRM, you have options: You can download and install the system on your own hardware, or you can purchase a hosted solution. To get prices for the hosted solution, you have to contact them from their Request a Quote page.

OrangeHRM's features include: fully modular, addons (e.g., benefits, employee self-service, training, budget, job and salary history, etc.) for purchase, all standard HR functions (employees, leave, benefits, performance, etc.), and more.

The installation is fairly straight-forward. With a self-extracting Windows installer or full-source installations for Windows, Mac, and Linux, you can get OrangeHRM up and running on nearly every platform. If you don't have the hardware or the skills to set up Orange onsite, you can request a quote for a hosted instance of OrangeHRM. You can also purchase support plans and customizations.

Figure B



3: WaypointHR

WaypointHR (Figure C) is the HR software for any small or midsize company looking for a platform that nearly any user, of any experience level, can use. WaypointHR can manage employee data, which include:

  • Personal details
  • Holiday/sickness/absence history
  • Employment/contract/job/salary details
  • Discipline and grievance records
  • Performance appraisals
  • Exit interviews and termination
  • A five-step add employee wizard
  • Export reports to PDF
  • Multi-site facility layering

WaypointHR also offers an active online support forum, a dedicated support website (which includes developer support), as well as an on-demand solution (for those that do not want to bother with the installation of WaypointHR on a local machine). To get a quote for the on-demand solution, visit this page, fill out the questionnaire, and wait to hear from WaypointHR.

Figure C



4: iCE Hrm

iCE Hrm (Figure D) is another modular HR solution that offers a local install or a cloud-based solution. As with all of the other solutions, the iCE Hrm local installation is free of charge, and to get a quote for a  hosted solution, you can visit the iCE Hrm hosted solution contact page.

The iCE Hrm platform focuses on the essentials of HRM: employee information, leave management, and time tracking. One unique feature of iCE Hrm is the rule-based leave management tool, which delegates leave management to corresponding supervisors.

The iCE Hrm platform offers an incredibly user-friendly interface, so there's no worry that end users who aren't as computer savvy will have trouble getting up to speed with the system. The iCE Hrm platform also uses a smaller code base than most (it's written in JavaScript and PHP), which means anyone with the skills can easily extend the platform to specifically fit their needs.

Figure D


iCE Hrm