Cezanne HR (which begins at $200 per month) has all of the core human resources (HR) software features your small to midsize business (SMB) needs. Although Cezanne HR didn’t win our Editors’ Choice award this time around, a recognition that instead went to the much easier to use BambooHR, it’s still a solid choice for HR users. The company has made slight improvements to its user interface (UI), which helped to bump its score up a half-star in this review, but it’s still a few notches behind the best-in-class.
The software targets SMBs but it looks and feels like a platform that is capable of handling a much larger workforce. According to Cezanne, its service accommodates staff sizes of up to 5,000 employees but targets companies that have several hundred to several thousand employees. It consists of a core People module that includes personnel files, recordkeeping, HR portals, notifications, and reports. Additional fee-based modules are available for time off, scheduling and time-keeping, online recruiting, and performance management.
As with other HR software, what’s visible on Cezanne HR’s main dashboard depends on who’s logging on. HR administrators and managers can see time-off requests, performance reviews, and other functions they are authorized to perform. Employees can only see functions that pertain to them, including their personnel file, calendar, and reminders. However, it’s important to note that Cezanne HR is designed to be an affordable solution for midsize companies seeking to manage different processes globally. Small companies that operate in one country will likely want to look for something easier to use and simpler in design.
Bulletin Board-Style Interface
Regardless of user type, the service’s home screen is divided into two navigation systems: a list-style menu running down the left-hand side and a bulletin-board style dashboard that displays functions as Widgets. Clicking the Configure Dashboard button at the top right-hand corner of the dashboard opens a screen that shows a list of Available Widgets. Clicking any of them moves them into an Active Widgets column so they appear on the dashboard. That kind of configurability is offered throughout the software, which is great because it means you can set it up to look just how you want it to look. But it is slightly more complex than competitors such as WebHR and Zenefits Z2.
The dashboard includes a Tasks function that shows the user a list of outstanding actions that need his or her immediate attention such as signing a time-off request. It also includes a Calendar that can be set up to show public holidays, employees’ work anniversaries, and other important dates. The dashboard includes a Workspace Feed function with chat rooms that workgroups, managers, or employees can use to leave messages and link to outside material. This eliminates the need for separate, intranet-based communications software.
From the main dashboard, personnel with HR admin-level access can use a Quick Actions widget as a shortcut to functions such as Contacts (employee directory), Workforce Analytics (reports), and Start a Process. The latter is how I added a new employee. From Start a Process, I chose Employee Administration > New Starter Process > Next to fill in personal information such as contact information, a picture, and race, gender, and disability information required for US equal employment opportunity (EEO) and other government forms.
Cezanne HR doesn’t include payroll. However, employers can add a separate Time module to keep online timesheets, track overtime, and set workflow approvals. Companies can use the Export Compensation function and the software’s open application programming interface (API) to export payroll data to Microsoft Excel spreadsheets or third-party payroll providers.
Companies that add the fee-based Performance Management module can use it to create performance reviews that are customizable in multiple ways. HR admins or managers can create templates for objectives, competencies, and ratings scales, or choose from defaults such as objective templates for client retention, increasing sales, or marketing strategy. Once review forms are set, you can start a review by selecting Performance > Appraisals > Add New Appraisal > Name (or Group) to choose the employee (or group) to be reviewed, the forms to be filled out, and which managers will be involved in the process. Managers and HR personnel can use a separate People > Discipline & Grievances process to document disciplinary actions due to problems ranging from lateness to discrimination, any actions taken, and necessary follow-up.
Integrated Benefits and Payroll
Cezanne HR’s benefits administration (BA) capabilities come in an integrated package, with payroll synced with third-party providers. Employees can change their own personnel files to update beneficiary and related information. From the main navigation bar, HR admin-level users can use People > Compensation > Benefits to track or update common benefits data, including employees’ enrollment dates, benefit types, and providers.
The HR dashboard gives benefits administrators and employees a single view from which to manage integrated benefits and payroll data. Cezanne lets users set up as many types of benefits as necessary, with corresponding contributions and beneficiaries. It also lets users monitor pension enrollment and status, and upload pay slips and import payroll data from other repositories. Users can also run a full range of queries and reports to compile analytics and charts on benefits data, which can also be used to ensure compliance. Advanced report features let users update payroll data within Cezanne HR and then simply export that data to other systems, without the need for double-entry.
It will get the job done and serves as a useful complement to Cezanne HR’s core HR functionality. But BA Editors’ Choice Zenefits Z2 and other all-in-one benefits and payroll software providers such as Gusto come with a smoother user experience (UX) and a deeper range of benefits management and customization features.
New Features and Pricing
Cezanne recently added a host of new features to its solution, including e-signatures, enhanced document management, and the option to schedule reports. Admins will appreciate the updates, which are likely to save time, effort, and confusion for anyone using the system moving forward.
Pricing for Cezanne HR software begins at $2 per employee per month for the core People module, with a $200 monthly minimum. As pricing goes, that’s the low end of paid HR software reviewed in this roundup, and less than BambooHR and SAP SuccessFactors (but more than the free services from WebHR and Zenefits Z2). Volume discounts kick in at $800 a month and the company offers a 20 percent discount for charities. Separate “Absences,” “Time,” “Performance” and “Recruitment” modules costs $2 each per employee per month. Baseline support is included in the monthly subscription fee, and Cezanne also offers in-depth training webinars for $1,250 per module.
For established companies that have existing personnel records on spreadsheets, Cezanne HR offers a free, one-time “quick startup service” upload of certain core data. It also offers a “full data upload” service for more extensive existing records for $3,200. The company will also take over setting a new customer for $1,250 to $2,500 per module. Free companion Android and iPhone apps have a trimmed down number of manager and employee functions. All-in-all, Cezanne has done a nice job smoothing over previous rough patches that SMBs may have encountered getting up and running by offering solid customer service, including plenty of training and data uploads (both free and paid).