Zenefits vs Gusto:
Which solution is for you?

Evaluating and choosing the right HR tech can make or break your existing business processes. Though there are hundreds of HRIS choices on the market, not every choice makes the most sense for SMBs. Many HR software platforms are too expensive, feature-heavy, and enterprise-focused for small to medium businesses. As you continue to evaluate your options, you’ll likely come across these two HRIS tools: Zenefits and Gusto. Both options appear to offer all-in-one HR features, and overlap quite a bit in their offerings.

We’ve researched and created the ultimate guide to help compare Zenefits, Gusto and GoCo -- another SMB favorite that incorporates the highlights of both platforms and more so you can easily streamline onboarding, benefits, payroll, and HR workflows. See G2 Comparison.

Points of Comparison

To get a clearer understanding of which product best fits your use-cases, here are a few key points of comparison you should prioritize: customer satisfaction, key features, and pricing. These three points of comparison are often the main selling points that drive decisions in the HR software space. If an HRIS ticks all three boxes, you can expect impressive time savings, efficient workflows, reliability, and a centralized experience.

To more effectively compare the various software options, you’ll also need to identify your HR tech needs and priorities. This ties back to how you facilitate information distribution, manage employee experience, provide support to your organization, and so much more! Our HR tech buyer’s guide makes the comparison process easy.

Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction covers everything from the product’s alignment with customer needs to the average support response time. A strong customer success team will save you hassle, time and energy, which will make all the difference in high-stress periods like payday or tax time.

A customer-centric HR system should prioritize efficient implementation by scoping out all of your needs, processing your data, and doing all the heavy lifting to bring your processes to life. Your customer support team should be easy to communicate with, whether that’s through email, text, 24 hour phone support, training seminars, or more. From kickoff to benefits enrollment/testing and finally to launch, the HRIS adds value to your processes without making things more complex.

Your support team should also be just a call, email, or chat away. On your buyer’s guide checklist, make note of companies with positive customer service reviews, and companies that respond to feedback and go the extra mile to deliver the best support. Response time is crucial too -- don’t wait on a service that can’t make time for you.

Key Features

Perhaps the most important point of comparison is the scope of features offered by each platform. Not every vendor will have every feature on your wishlist, so as you compare between vendors, make note of must-haves, as well as added bonuses. At a higher level, the software you’re evaluating should be easy-to-use for both employees and HR, and also offer stellar support quality. At the next level, you’re researching to make sure your potential HRIS offers core features, including employee management, benefits, payroll, time, and resources.

An efficient HRIS should solve the problems above and include the following:

Complete employee management features

Hiring and onboarding

Document management


Self-Service Tools

Benefits administration


Time and absence management

HR Support and advisory features

Dedicated customer support

Whether it’s the ability to digitally send offer letters and onboard employees, empower employees to choose benefits online, or track time on a modern kiosk, the scope of your future HR platform’s features should cover all the bases of your HR processes.

Here’s a comparison table that breaks down the included features of Gusto, Zenefits, and GoCo.

Employee Management Platform
Hiring & Onboarding
Personnel Tracking
Applicant Tracking
Employee Self-Service
Advanced Document Management
Advanced Custom Fields
Performance Management
Automated HR Workflows
Benefits Administration
100% Online Benefits Enrollment
New-Hire Benefits Preview ?
Bring Your Own Broker
Connect to any Carrier ?
EDI Feed
Support for Health, Dental, Vision, Life, Disability, ADD, Ancillary Benefits
Built-in Payroll
Option to Bring Your Own Payroll
Payroll Sync Service
Virtual Time Clock
Digital Timesheets
Time Off Requests, Balances, Accruals, Approvals
Advanced, Custom Time Off Policies
COVID-19 Paid Leave Tracking
Custom Labor Groups
Employee Time Tracking Kiosk
HR Support and Advisory
On-Demand HR Advice from HR Pros
HR Resource Library (forms, templates, policies)

Head-to-Head Feature Comparison

Employee Management Platform

For employee management features, while all three platforms have onboarding, personnel tracking, and employee self-service, Zenefits falls behind in regards to automated HR workflows, and Gusto falls behind in regards to advanced custom fields and performance management features. GoCo fills in the gaps on both -- its custom workflow feature allows HR managers to streamline ANY HR checklist, and its advanced Magic Docs technology not only makes reporting and collecting documents easier, but also allows for advanced field customization.

Benefits Administration Features

Specific to benefits administration, the GoCo and Zenefits offer similar features, but Gusto lacks flexibility and doesn’t offer ACA tracking. For Gusto, employers must leave existing brokers and switch to Gusto’s brokers for benefits administration.

Payroll & Time-Tracking

For payroll and time tracking, Zenefits offers scheduling but lacks a seamless payroll sync option within its platform, whereas GoCo and Gusto both provide payroll sync within the software. Zenefits also falls short with advanced, custom time off policies and up-to-date COVID-19 paid leave tracking capabilities. Gusto offers month-to-month payroll services, but does not have custom labor groups, a time tracking kiosk, or scheduling capabilities. GoCo shines with a choice between built-in payroll or bring-your-own, and also provides advanced COVID-19 paid leave tracking, a time tracking kiosk feature, and advanced time off policies.


After you’ve evaluated the features, it’s time to dive into pricing. Though it’s important that the software has all the features you desire, it’s also important to remember which features come at a premium cost, and whether that is in your SMB’s budget scope. The key is to decide what modules and features are required for your business, and take into account upgrade costs.

Zenefits vs. Gusto vs. GoCo

Your HRIS platform should check all the boxes for you -- not add any extra work to your plate.

Customer Satisfaction
(Based on G2 Quality of Support Score)
7.5 8.4 9.5
Key Features
Pricing $ $ $ $ $


Now that we’ve covered and compared the key points of comparison, let’s talk through the winners!

When Zenefits Wins
Zenefits is a good choice if scheduling is your top priority in an HR system. You can build and monitor individual schedules, and notify employees when new schedules are created.

When Gusto Wins
Gusto is a good option if your focus is only advanced payroll or month-to-month payroll, and not an all-in-one HR software.

When GoCo Wins
GoCo is the clear winner if your end goal is a complete all-in-one, flexible platform with top-notch customer satisfaction, extensive platform features, and competitive pricing.

Whereas many other HR platforms offer standard HR features like payroll and benefits administration, GoCo shines with unbeatable features like:

Advanced Document Management technology. Re-imagine your approach to sending, collecting, and electronically signing HR-related documents with Magic Docs.

Automated HR Workflows. Streamline routine tasks like hiring, onboarding, termination, and more. GoCo’s drag-and-drop workflow builder brings any process or checklist to life inside of GoCo.

Payroll Sync Service. If you can’t move to a new payroll, GoCo can sync data from the platform directly into your cloud-based payroll.

Advanced Time Tracking/Time Off Policies. From COVID-19 paid leave tracking to custom time off policies, GoCo stands out in this category.

Client Success. Customers are 3x more likely to recommend the GoCo platform compared to others in the industry. GoCo has won customer success awards for best support, best implementation, and offers white glove implementation to go the extra mile. In fact, most implementations take about 2 weeks!

HR Support Center. GoCo provides access to expert HR advice and tools to support your team.

Why Choose GoCo Over
Zenefits and Gusto?

The truth is Zenefits, Gusto, and GoCo are all strong players in the HR software field. Even so, when it boils down to the three points of comparison, GoCo is truly the most consolidated HR platform for small to medium sized businesses, with a strong edge in client service.

While Zenefits and Gusto are both strong for specific parts of HR operations, like scheduling and payroll, GoCo’s level of flexibility makes it easy to customize a solution for your business. With GoCo, you can easily automate any HR checklist, trigger notifications, review progress timelines, and report data in one place, to give both your employees and yourself a consistent HR experience. On top of that, our customers love how intuitive and easy-to-learn the user interface is -- your entire team can adopt an HRIS without spending extensive time and money on training. Need flexibility to sync to your payroll provider? GoCo can help. Need to work with your own benefits broker? GoCo’s cool with that too! Need to add advanced custom fields for tricky documents? GoCo can take care of that. Need help staying fully compliant? GoCo’s advisors can help.

With GoCo, it’s not just one or two features that stand out, it’s the unified HR experience. One login, hundreds of solutions. You can better prioritize your team and leave the technical stuff for us to handle, and receive an unparalleled customer experience even stronger than what’s capable within Zenefits and Gusto. But don’t just take our word for it, see what our customers are saying. Take a free interactive tour today to see where we win!

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