Sage HR Review – Everything to Know in 2024

Founded in 1981, Sage has earned its place among the most venerable names in software. Now a global SaaS brand, its suite of products simplifies back-office management for small and mid-sized organizations.

One of its products is Sage HR, a cloud-based human resources solution that helps employers track, manage, and pay employees with ease. It handles core functions like shift scheduling, timesheets, and managing holidays with a modular design that’s easy to customize.

In our Sage HR review, we’ll take a deep dive into the platform’s features, functions, benefits, and potential drawbacks. We’ll also see how it stacks up against top competitors. To start, take a look at our overview of key pros and cons:

Pros

  • Free 30-day trial
  • Plans start at just £4 per month
  • HR and leave management offered in all plans
  • Highly customizable interface

Cons

  • Limited 3rd party integrations
  • No free version for solo entrepreneurs
  • No dedicated payroll functionality
Table of Contents Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Sage HR Plans & Pricing

Instead of offering a tiered pricing structure, Sage HR charges based on two aspects:

  • The functional modules you select
  • The number of active employees you have

Basic pricing for the Core HR and Leave Management module is £4 per employee per month. Adding the Timesheets module tacks on another £2 per employee per month, and so on. Other modules include Performance Management, Expenses, Shift Scheduling, and Recruitment.

What does that mean for how much Sage HR could cost? As an example, for the Core HR and Leave Management module:

  • A business with three employees will cost £12 per month
  • A business with four employees will cost £16 per month

However, once you include the Expenses module (£1 per employee per month) plus the above monthly fee:

  • A business with three employees will cost £15 per month
  • A business with four employees will cost £20 per month

Despite these add-ons, we did like the fact that you can try the core module for free for 30 days, with no credit card required. We’ll look at each module in detail in the next section of our Sage HR review.

Sage HR Pricing by Module

Plan Tier/Level Monthly Cost/Per user Reporting Available Customer Support
Core HR and Leave Management £4 per employee per month Standard Reporting Extensive online knowledge base, plus chat and telephone help desk.
Timesheets £2 per employee per month Standard Reporting Extensive online knowledge base, plus chat and telephone help desk.
Performance Management £2 per employee per month Standard Reporting Extensive online knowledge base, plus chat and telephone help desk.
Expenses £1 per employee per month Standard Reporting Extensive online knowledge base, plus chat and telephone help desk.
Shift Scheduling £2 per employee per month Standard Reporting Extensive online knowledge base, plus chat and telephone help desk.
Recruitment £150 per month Standard Reporting Extensive online knowledge base, plus chat and telephone help desk.

Core HR and Leave Management Module

As the name suggests, we found that this included all the basics. You can make use of:

  • Employee scheduling with shared team calendar
  • Easy onboarding for new joiners
  • E-signing for key HR documents
  • Centralized employee records
  • Integration with other applications like Slack.

Through a mobile app, employees can also view company policies and access payslips. Managers can instantly approve leave requests, track schedules, see who’s away, and view who’s on sick leave. All in all, it covers basic HR processes pretty well.

Timesheets Module

Sage HR's time off feature

Employees can log in easily and complete timesheets from any location using the Sage HR platform. Time-off data can be pre-filled automatically. You can also merge completed timesheets with payroll for enhanced reporting.

Performance Management Module

Gather 360-degree feedback from colleagues ahead of performance reviews, share individual objectives, and track progress. We found this fairly basic, but it has everything you need.

Expenses Module

Submit receipts quickly from a mobile app and have them automatically converted into expense entries. For only £1 extra per employee per month, this is quite a fair exchange for this handy, precise, and reliable service.

Shift Scheduling Module

Create and edit shifts for regular and flexible working hours. Employees can see their schedules online or via the Sage HR mobile app. This isn’t particularly useful for digital companies working to sprints, but certainly for brick-and-mortar businesses.

Recruitment Module

In Sage HR’s most expensive add-on, you can screen applicants by role and criteria, schedule interviews, and generate reports like time to fill and hiring speed. Depending on your business requirements, you might be able to eliminate the need for external recruitment teams with this module.

Sage HR Review Overview

Starting price £4 per employee per month (after free trial)
Best for Growing businesses that need the flexibility to scale incrementally as headcount grows.
Customer support Extensive FAQ and support documentation, chat and telephone support.
App integrations Google Single Sign-On (SSO), Slack, Google, or Outlook Calendar.
Security & Compliance 256-bit encryption for all data sent to or from Sage HR. Hosted and served via HTTPS. Sage says all its employees use multifactor authentication.
Payroll No
Reporting & analytics Yes
Mobile app Yes
Benefits administration No
E-signatures Yes
Auto-alerts and reminders Yes

 

Features of Sage HR

A screenshot of Sage HR's dashboard

As we noted, all of Sage HR’s key features are bundled together in what it calls ‘modules.’ The use of modules gives small businesses the flexibility to add capabilities as activity levels rise or fall while keeping software costs in line with headcount.

Another feature we loved is the highly customizable interface. Arranged in easy-to-scan boxes, you can arrange the dashboard layout and see everything important to you ‘above the fold’ as soon as you log in.

In our Sage HR review process, we also came across key functional features that made the platform stand out among competitors.

Easy Onboarding

Sage HR onboarding example

Employers can share essential HR documents with new employees, like contracts and offer letters, and have them signed and returned electronically.

Centralized Database

Sage HR database view

Sage HR gives employers a single, secure repository for all employee information. It’s one of the best HRIS software databases on the market.

Leave Management

Sage HR leave management calendar view

Using the employee side of the platform, we found it very simple to submit annual leave requests. Employers can approve or reject them with one click, saving time and effort.

Alerts and Announcements

We liked how employers can set up automatic reminders around key tasks or events, as well as share company announcements. In this way, it offers a slightly social aspect that can help your team feel more together.

Scalability

Sage HR recruitment feature

For an additional monthly fee, you can add modules for recruitment, timesheets, expenses, and scheduling. We thought this was a fair way of arranging the pricing plan – as your company grows in size and profits, so would your HR needs.

Sage HR Integration

If there’s one area where Sage HR could raise its game, it’s the capability of third-party integrations. While competitors like BambooHR promise more than 125 integrations with other HR and office workflow apps, Sage HR only offers four integrations:

  1. Google Workspace
  2. Google Single Sign-On
  3. Slack
  4. Outlook Calendar

While these are important (and arguably enough) for a small business, mid-sized organizations might also need integration with payroll systems, learning management platforms, or benefits portals.

Sage HR Customer Reviews

Users typically rate Sage HR around 4.5 out of 5 overall on trusted review sites such as Trustpilot.

Sage HR review on Trustpilot

We found it had top marks for user experience, where people thought it felt easy to start using Sage HR with little or no training required. This is mainly thanks to its:

  • Simplicity
  • Speed of setup
  • Intuitive interface

There weren’t many recurring negative themes in the third-party reviews, but as we expected, there were some comments around the limitations of app integration.

What is Sage HR Good For?

We think Sage HR is best suited to the smaller end of the SMB scale, in other words, organizations with 50 employees or under.

Since Sage HR can handle scheduling, timesheets, onboarding, and communications remotely, it’s perfect for global businesses with employees in different locations.

The platform reduces the admin burden around people management by centralizing HR data and automating repetitive tasks. However, we did find that its pricing model makes it expensive for larger organizations.

If your business needs room to grow, Sage HR would make an ideal tool to facilitate this.

Sage HR vs. Top Competitors

Provider Best for Starting Price Payroll Benefits Admin Reporting/Analytics Mobile App
BambooHR Larger SMBs that need a comprehensive HR and payroll solutions Custom pricing (quotes available by request) Yes Yes Standard Yes
TriNet Zenefits SMBs in heavily regulated sectors $8 USD (around £6.30) No No Standard Yes
ADP Workforce Now Large enterprises and multinationals Custom pricing (quotes available by request) Yes Yes Standard Yes

Sage HR vs. BambooHR

BambooHR is undoubtedly a more complete HR solution than Sage HR. It offers similar features like scheduling, timesheets, and recruitment but also wraps in payroll management, candidate tracking, and functions that help build team culture.

While Sage HR and BambooHR are both easy to use and visually appealing, Sage can’t compete with BambooHR when it comes to the breadth of HR management capabilities. Read our BambooHR review to learn more.

Sage HR vs. TriNet Zenefits

Our reviewers rate both Sage HR and TriNet Zenefits highly for simplicity and ease of use. Zenefits, however, offers much more robust HR functionality.

It includes full-featured payroll and benefits administration, something that Sage HR lacks completely. For larger organizations that need a comprehensive platform for simplifying HR, payroll, and benefits, Zenefits is a clear winner.

Sage HR vs. ADP Workforce Now

Sage HR and ADP Workforce Now focus on different ends of the size spectrum. Sage HR is best for smaller growing businesses that need to reduce the administrative burden that comes with employing more people.

ADP Workforce Now is a more complex software package aimed at large and complex organizations with hundreds of employees. While both have strong offerings, they should remain firmly in their own business-size domains.

Verdict – is Sage HR Worth it?

Sage HR is a top contender on the HR management software league table. Simple, intuitive, scalable, customizable, and easy to use, Sage HR is sensibly priced and offers excellent customer support.

We think it’s well worth trying the 30-day free trial to experience the interface and functionality, especially if you’re looking for software to grow a small business.

While our Sage HR review praised its simple design and interface in terms of ease of use, simplicity can also be a drawback. Sage HR totally lacks a payroll module, and its shortlist of third-party integrations cannot compete with what other HR software brands offer – even those targeting the same SMB space.

That said, we believe Sage is a solid choice for organizations of up to 50 employees who need to automate repetitive HR tasks. For businesses of this size, Sage HR’s modular pricing structure is a huge plus, and it will have more than enough features to keep your business running smoothly.

How We Test HR Software

Our independent reviews of HR applications, SaaS platforms, and online services are designed to help human resources professionals make informed buying decisions.

When we review an HR software product like Sage HR, we weigh up its benefits and drawbacks in six key categories:

  • Pricing – We check for different plans and add-ons at all tiers, making sure it works for all different business sizes.
  • Features – Finding out the core features and checking what’s available at different price levels.
  • Integrations – We look at how easily a product can be integrated into existing HR and accounting workflow.
  • Automation – How many repetitive, time-consuming tasks can the HR product handle?
  • Ease of use – We look at the interface, range of menu options, implementation, and how much training you might need before use.
  • Third-party reviews – What are other users saying about the product on respected platforms like Trustpilot or G2?

How to Choose the Best HR Software

Choosing the right HR software can have a huge impact on productivity, employee satisfaction, and your ability to recruit and retain the right people. If you’re thinking of trying a new HR solution or investing in one for the first time, here are some of the things that should inform your decision:

  • Type of HR software – Is the HR software suited to your organization’s size and complexity?
  • Essential HR features – Does the solution combine both payroll and essential people management tools like scheduling, time tracking, and performance management?
  • Pricing – Is there a plan for my budget that offers all the capabilities I need? How easy is it to scale up or down if business needs change?
  • Ease of use – How easy is it to set up, implement, and use the product?
  • Integrations – Will the HR software integrate with my existing office productivity tools?
  • Customer support – What level of support does the platform offer, and does it differ by price plan?

Sage HR Review FAQs

Does Sage HR offer a free trial?

What size of company is Sage HR suited to?

Does Sage HR have a payroll module?

How much does Sage HR cost?

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Mark De Wolf

Mark is a freelance tech journalist covering software, cybersecurity, and SaaS. His work has appeared in Dow Jones, The Telegraph, SC Magazine, Strategy, InfoWorld, Redshift, and The Startup. He graduated from the Ryerson University School of Journalism with honors where he studied under senior reporters from The New York Times, BBC, and Toronto Star, and paid his way through uni as a jobbing advertising copywriter. In addition, Mark has been an external communications advisor for tech startups and scale-ups, supporting them from launch to successful exit. Success stories include SignRequest (acquired by Box), Zeigo (acquired by Schneider Electric), Prevero (acquired…