In light of the impending economic downturn, it may be prudent for companies to examine how much they are spending on software closely. In 2023, you may make your money go further by finding a solution that meets your needs without breaking the bank. 

Early inflation in 2023 prompted the Federal Reserve to increase interest rates. The economy has slowed as a result, and we’ve entered a recession in which growth has been negative for the last two quarters.

As the economy is down, businesses often strive to cut expenses anywhere they can, and one place they may cut back is on software. Many HR managers should expect to experience a decrease or stagnation in their budgets in 2023, making it all the more important for them to make wise, cost-effective software choices as they construct their HR software toolset.

Let’s say the HR tools at your disposal today are incompatible. If that’s the case, you’ll need to spend a lot of effort upgrading the backend components manually (or, even worse, in spreadsheets). A centralized approach is more efficient, gets workers out of the weeds, and reduces the likelihood of mistakes people make (sorry, humans; paying attention to the finer details of complex, interconnected systems is not our strong suit). To have your cake and eat it, too, search for a unified HR platform with third-party app integrations. That way, you get the benefits of consolidation without giving up the ability to use connectors tailored to your specific company or sector.

These are some of the most reasonably priced options available in HR software. Remember that “cost-effective” does not automatically imply “lowest price” but rather seeks the optimal balance between return on investment and reasonable cost. So, let’s get started with the list of the top HR tech tools that you could invest in during the recession.

SEE ALSO: Find Out How Technology is Impacting HR Roles and Processes


With an ATS, HR managers at non-automated businesses would be able to keep track of everything involved in the hiring process. They often have to verify new applicants’ email aliases, record interview stages, and write offer letters from scratch.

For less than $500 per month, the contemporary, fully-featured ATS platform JazzHR is available. This fee covers posting positions online, monitoring applicants, notifying applicants and hiring managers of their status, and generating offer letters in digital format.

SMB HRIS: Netchex

One of the most notable changes in the HRIS industry recently is the emphasis placed by businesses on pursuing solutions with higher-rated customer service. The service business has been hit hard by the recent wave of resignations known as “The Great Resignation,” especially the big public payroll firms like Paylocity, ADP, Paycor, Paycom, Paychex, etc.

Yet, niche HRIS providers like Netchex have observed improved client satisfaction after deployment due to increased employee retention. Netchex’s payroll, time, benefits, and HR platform is 20-30% cheaper than some of the big box rivals due to the company’s service model advantage.

Top Free HR Tech Tools to Navigate Recession Challenges

Mid-Market HRIS: Kronos

Bundling as many of your human resources technology requirements as possible into a single platform may be an efficient way for medium-sized businesses to save money. Companies may achieve this with the help of UKG Ready (formerly known as Kronos), an integrated human resource information system.

If you’re acquainted with the cost of UKG Pro (previously UltiPro), you won’t believe how much of a bargain the UKG Ready platform is. UKG Ready is often the most affordable HRIS solution for small and medium-sized businesses while having a full-suite system with advanced workforce management features.

Enterprise HRIS: Ceridian

Costs may increase quickly for businesses that want HRIS features often reserved for larger organizations (global functionality, extensive configurability, security, permissions, etc.). The most popular ones are SAP, Oracle, and Workday, but they all come with hefty software costs and much heftier consultancy bills for launching and implementing the platform.

Not only may Ceridian save you money on software prices, but they also provide you a lot of leeway in how you pay for the deployment of their system by letting you pay for it over 24 months if you so choose.

Culture: Hibob

An HR system that monitors and automates HR processes is no longer enough for today’s businesses. Companies in the modern day are searching for methods to better understand and interact with their culture since this has been shown to increase employee satisfaction and retention.

There have been several developments in this field in recent years, with numerous startups developing cutting-edge, user-friendly software for tasks such as performance management, employee engagement, surveys, peer-to-peer recognition, and more. Buying a separate instrument for every use might grow expensive.

Fortunately, Hibob has completed the most extensive integration of these employee-focused features into a cutting-edge HRIS. Hibob may function as a full system of record with features like onboarding and time and attendance tracking, but what makes them stand out is its emphasis on employee engagement and growth.


A recession is a test of resilience. Companies that focus on the basics are more likely to survive and prosper in tough economic times. Strong leadership is the cornerstone of success in any field. Why? Because an engaged workforce is productive, and a strong leader is the most important factor in employee motivation. Seventy percentOpens in a new window of the variation in employee engagement may be attributed to managers. It might take a wage increase of more than 20% to get workers to leave a company where they are motivated by a boss they trust.

57% of white women and 62% of women of color who feel appreciated and valued in their workplace have never or seldom considered resigning because of the epidemic. Hence, while comparing HCM vendors, prioritize those that give helpful resources for managers (e.g., performance review templates & automation, career, & talent development capabilities, robust learning management systems, succession planning, compensation planning, etc.). Investing in your company’s leadership will greatly impact employee engagement.

SEE ALSO: 7 Strong Reasons for Integrating Global HR solutions

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