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June 6, 2024
XX min read

Sapling vs Zenefits


In the ever-evolving landscape of Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS), choosing the right tool can significantly impact operational efficiency, employee satisfaction, and overall business performance. This comparison focuses on two prominent HRIS tools: Sapling and Zenefits.

Sapling, a Kallidus product, excels in onboarding, offboarding, core HR, and people operations, enhanced by Kallidus' extensive experience in learning, performance, and talent management. On the other hand, Zenefits, a SaaS cloud-based platform, serves over 11,000 small and mid-sized companies by simplifying HR administration through a comprehensive suite of HR, Benefits, Payroll, and Performance apps, alongside advisory services.

Choosing the right HRIS tool involves assessing various features, capabilities, and unique offerings to find the best fit for your organization’s needs. This detailed comparison between Sapling and Zenefits will provide valuable insights to aid in making an informed decision.

Sapling Overview

Sapling by Kallidus is designed to streamline various HR processes, particularly for onboarding and offboarding, core HR functions, and people operations. With Kallidus' broad expertise in learning and performance management, Sapling offers a dynamic, interconnected HR solution.

Key Features

  • Onboarding and Offboarding: Offers automated workflows to ensure a seamless transition for new hires and exiting employees.
  • Core HR: Manages essential HR tasks such as employee data management, compliance, and reporting.
  • People Operations: Enhanced functionality for tracking employee progression, performance management integrations, and strategic people planning.
  • Learning and Development: Integration capabilities with Kallidus' learning content and performance management systems for a holistic HR approach.
  • Self-service Employee Portal: Empowers employees with access to their data, reducing administrative burden on HR teams.

Zenefits Overview

Zenefits is a comprehensive HR platform designed to simplify HR administration for small to mid-sized businesses. Its cloud-based nature provides flexibility and ease of access, offering a broad range of HR features within a unified platform.

Key Features

  • HR Management: Comprehensive HR tools including employee records, compliance management, and reporting.
  • Benefits Administration: Streamlined benefits management including health insurance, 401(k), and more.
  • Payroll Integration: A seamless payroll system that integrates with the HR platform to manage employee compensation effortlessly.
  • Performance Management: Tools for employee performance tracking, goal setting, and feedback to maintain high productivity.
  • Time and Attendance: Simplifies tracking of employee hours, time off, and scheduling.
  • Advisory Services: Access to HR experts for guidance on compliance and best practices.
  • Integration with Partner Apps: A robust ecosystem of tightly integrated third-party apps for extended functionality.


Both Sapling and Zenefits offer a rich suite of features aimed at enhancing HR operations:

  • Core HR Capabilities: Both platforms handle essential HR tasks such as employee data management, compliance, and reporting.
  • Onboarding and Offboarding: Automated workflows to ensure smooth transitions for employees.
  • Self-service Portals: Employee self-service features for accessing personal information and HR resources.
  • Performance Management: Tools to track and enhance employee performance.
  • Integration Capabilities: Both systems integrate with various third-party tools and applications to extend their functionality.


Despite their similarities, Sapling and Zenefits cater to slightly different needs and offer unique features:

  • Learning and Development:
  • Sapling: Leverages Kallidus' deep expertise in learning and development to offer integrated learning content and performance management.
  • Zenefits: Focuses more on performance management and does not inherently offer embedded learning content.

  • Payroll and Benefits Management:
  • Sapling: Primarily focuses on core HR processes and integrates with third-party payroll systems.
  • Zenefits: Provides built-in payroll management and benefits administration, creating a more unified experience.

  • Advisory Services:
  • Sapling: Does not explicitly offer advisory services as part of its core offering.
  • Zenefits: Includes access to HR experts for compliance and HR best practices guidance.

Pros and Cons



  • Strong onboarding and offboarding workflows
  • Integration with Kallidus for learning and performance management
  • Intuitive core HR functionalities
  • Self-service employee portal to reduce HR workload
  • Advanced people operations features for strategic HR planning


  • Limited built-in payroll and benefits functionalities
  • May require multiple integrations for a full HR suite
  • Less emphasis on advisory services



  • Comprehensive HR, payroll, and benefits management within a single platform
  • Built-in time and attendance tracking
  • Access to HR advisory services
  • Intuitive interface designed for small to mid-sized businesses
  • Strong focus on compliance management


  • Less focus on learning and development integration
  • Potentially higher cost due to the comprehensive feature set
  • Might be overwhelming for very small teams with limited HR needs

Use Cases


Sapling is ideal for organizations that:

  • Require robust onboarding and offboarding processes.
  • Seek to integrate learning and development into their HR strategy.
  • Focus on advanced people operations and strategic HR planning.
  • Have existing payroll and benefits systems that they wish to keep using in conjunction with an HRIS.


Zenefits is ideal for organizations that:

  • Need an all-in-one HR, payroll, and benefits solution.
  • Value built-in compliance management and HR advisory services.
  • Want a single platform for managing HR tasks without extensive third-party integrations.
  • Are small to mid-sized businesses looking for an intuitive, user-friendly HR system.


In comparing Sapling and Zenefits, it's clear that each platform has its strengths tailored to specific HR needs. Sapling excels in onboarding, offboarding, and integrating learning and development, making it a strong choice for organizations focused on these areas. Zenefits, with its comprehensive HR, payroll, and benefits management, along with advisory services, is well-suited for small to mid-sized businesses seeking an all-in-one solution.

When choosing between Sapling and Zenefits, consider your organization's size, specific HR needs, and whether you prefer a single comprehensive platform or a system that integrates with best-of-breed third-party solutions. Both tools offer robust capabilities that can significantly enhance HR operations, but the best choice will depend on your unique requirements and business goals.

Key takeaways 🔑🥡🍕

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