Honest Review (2024)

Beautifully conceptualized HR solution marred by underdeveloped features, less-than-ideal implementation, and poor support.

Written by Asim Qureshi
By Asim Qureshi, CEO Jibble

As a CEO of a time tracking software company, I need to know what my competitors are up to. That means I’m often researching about and/or playing around with their products, like ELMO Software — you know, it’s part of the job. Here, I share my findings from that research, giving credit to those competitors where credit is due, and being honest about which products I believe you really need to avoid. And so, there you have it, this ELMO Software review. And in it, I try to be honest, fair, and insightful.

This Review Covers:


Let’s talk about ELMO Software, a cloud-based all-in-one HR software for mid-sized organizations that can be customized for the various HRIS needs of their users. It boasts a comprehensive and scalable arsenal of ISO-certified solutions spanning the full employee lifecycle. Its high configurability gives businesses impressive flexibility in addressing their unique processes and workflows.

ELMO Software offers solutions for automated payroll, rostering, time and attendance, expenses, HR core, survey, recruitment and onboarding, performance and succession management, rewards and recognition, and remuneration. It also offers learning management, course building, a library with more than 400 pre-built courses, and a video library. Their software applications are multi-tenant, multi-user, and on-demand, without any requirements for special hardware, software maintenance, and network administration, eliminating a lot of the expenses and difficulties associated with large-scale software implementations.

One of ELMO’s key strengths is that it is they have a deep understanding of the Australian and New Zealand markets, allowing them to meet local demands satisfactorily. Their commitment to security in all aspects of their business operations and services through ISO certification is also commendable. 

However, no software is perfect, and ELMO has its fair share of downsides. It can be quite difficult to set up, and while it does boast of configurability, tailoring it for the various needs of multiple departments can be a nightmare. User experience is marred by a multitude of bugs, some of which remain unsolved after years — it feels like I’m dealing with something badly managed and underdeveloped at times. Also, it doesn’t have a mobile app, though it can be accessed via a mobile browser. 

But before we make any judgments, it’s only fair to first take a look at what else the software has to offer. So, without further ado, let’s dive right into this ELMO Software review!

Graphic showing various dashboards and features of ELMO Software

What Do Users Like About ELMO Software?

  • Potential for configurability
  • Scalability
  • Automations
  • ISO certification
  • Deep understanding of the Australian and New Zealand markets

What Don’t Users  Like About ELMO Software?

  • Difficult to setup
  • Difficult to tailor for unique needs
  • Feels underdeveloped
  • Marred by bugs that remain unresolved after years
  • No mobile app
  • Some features offered before purchase turned out to be non-existent
  • Poor customer service and support
  • Course-building can be very limiting

What Pricing Plans Does ELMO Software Offer?

At present, ELMO Software does not list any pricing details on its website. However, users have reported that prices start at $35 per month and that no free version is available. 

What are the Standout Features of ELMO Software?

1. Automated Payroll

ELMO Software helps businesses ease admin burden by centralizing payroll management in one intuitive platform. This eliminates the hassle of managing pay data across multiple systems. Automations limit manual data handling, helping improve accuracy, avoid errors, and reduce time and efforts traditionally spent on payroll tasks. 

In addition to that, ELMO Software also helps users enjoy the confidence of a stress-free payroll experience by catering to STP2 compliance needs through seamless integration with ABA bank files, which I think is a really nice touch.

Furthermore, ELMO Software also offers payroll reporting that provides actionable data. It allows users to generate a wide variety of reports, such as audit, variance, payroll tax, and a whole lot more, all with a single touch.

The payroll module is part of the Pay Suite. Although it’s good as a stand-alone, it’s designed to work together with the other modules in the suite, including expense tracking, HR core, time tracking, and rostering.

Graphic showing ELMO Software payroll feature for a fortnighly pay period

2. Rostering and Time and Attendance Management

Every business needs reliable tools to ensure that time and attendance are recorded accurately, shifts are staffed adequately, costs are controlled, and risk compliance is minimized. ELMO Software offers a solution to all of these with its integrated rostering and time and attendance management features.

The rostering solution gives businesses the ability to schedule work hours and manage the attendance of their employees using an intuitive and easy-to-use calendar that gives managers a clear view of availability, leaves, and special events so they can create effective weekly, fortnightly, or monthly staff rosters. I think a reliable calendar like ELMO’s is indispensable for the modern workplace, so they get a shout-out for that.

It also allows them to set roster budgets to see if costs fall beyond allocations so adjustments can be made as needed, providing real-time wage cost forecasts that help optimise workforce management.

Notifications for all rostering issues and changes are automatically sent as notifications to all employees, allowing them to become active participants in the process with the ability to flag availability and swap shifts.

In addition to that, the time and attendance management features allow employees to record their time spent on work by clocking in and out of their shifts online. This provides real-time reporting on hours, helps control costs, and facilitates the enforcement of pay and business rules. 

Although ELMO Software does not have a mobile app at the moment, users can clock in and out via their mobile browsers if they’re not using desktops.

Graphic showing ELMO Software rostering feature

3. HR Core

ELMO Software’s HR Core module allows businesses to centralise and automate their employee management using a solution that can be easily tailored to specific needs. Through automations that relieves administrative burdens such as dealing with spreadsheets, compliance, and other manual processes, the software helps refocus HR energies and efforts on the things that matter, such as engaging and empowering employees.

Leave management is made easy with ELMO Software, giving employees a simplified way to plan and request time off and check leave balances using a single platform. Leave forecasting and configurable notifications give managers actionable insights to help them create better plans and more informed decisions.

And speaking of insights, I like ELMO Software’s powerful and customizable reporting capabilities that give businesses visibility into key workforce factors such as headcount, diversity breakdowns, and employee turnover. These analytics help businesses understand trends that affect the workforce and identify areas of improvement so HR operations can be optimised.

The best thing about this module is that employees are actively involved in providing the insights that help businesses identify what they need to make their work experience better, all stored securely in the system. They can enter and manage their own details such as roles, banking and taxation details, super and benefits, work patterns — even their favorite coffee orders!

The HR Core module is part of the Engage Suite, which also has other modules such as Wellbeing, Survey, and Predictive People Analytics that are designed to work together. 

Graphic showing ELMO SOftware Leave Calnedar and leave request feature

4. ELMO Learning

This ELMO Software review won’t be complete without discussing its learning management system, which purports to help develop critical skills and improve employee engagement through stringently-curated personalised skill plans for professional development. The software features a course and video library of over 400 courses that can be accessed anytime and anywhere, helping close critical skill gaps through a culture of continuous learning.

Having a learning management system helps keep skills up-to-date, and simplifies the daunting double-headed task of ensuring efficient learning management and compliance training is a great advantage. ELMO keeps track of employee training needs, course pacing and completion rates, and compliance requirements all in one place.

Now, I admire all of that, and so do a lot of users heaping praise on ELMO’s learning system as efficient, easily understandable, and excellent for training. However, in the course of my research, I’ve discovered that the system might not be the right one for every business — some frustrated users have said that it’s very outdated and restricting and that they’ve resorted to creating e-learning modules using another program that they then upload to ELMO. This indicates that while certain industries might find the system sufficient, others may not have the same experience, so that point needs to be clarified before committing to a subscription if planning to get ELMO Software primarily for learning management system needs.

Graphic showing ELMO SOftware's course catalog

Positive User Highlights

  • “First thing i would like about it is user friendly and covers everything form onboarding to payroll.Also helps to find right person for business with ease. The integration of all the data helps to cover at one go.Used very frequently at my past companies and was one of the best wheneever used it at workplace.The data for payroll hiring helps due to its ease to implement due to its different commands.But when there is some issue regarding anything in this software the support from the customer support end is quick and identifies problem at one go.” Sanket P. (Source G2)
  • My training for my role at the Melbourne Cricket Ground with ELMO Software has been very easy and efficient. Their outline of the modules as well as progress status is very easy to follow.” Alexander L. (Source G2)
  • Easy to use and excellent for training. Good to have via a digital platform.” Wayne K. (Source GetApp)
  • “Good training software for nurses […] User friendly software and could easily understand the modules Marc V. (Source GetApp)
  • Very Clean to the eye, you don’t have to open multiple tabs to find anything very easy to use.” Jonathan S. (Source GetApp)
  • User-friendly and I like the design, easy to get started but can be improved in the future to be more powerful.” Sunny G. (Source Capterra)
  • “It suits the business requirement.Has some great features.The concept of updating the system from time to time is excellent, which means the employer doesn’t have to look for other options and upgrade the system as per the latest software.” Bhawna S. (Source Capterra)

Negative User Highlights

  • “Lost most of my hair setting it up, lost more trying to change how departments wanted it to run, and more when trying to sort out their software bugs for them. It is badly managed, badly put together hodgepodge of software that has no place in being part of the HR realm.” Andrew W. (Source Capterra)
  • “There are limitations, as with all systems. The 2 way integration with ELMO pay is a particular pain point resulting in duplication of work effort and not being able to create reports in Analytics combining HR Core and Payroll Helena B. (Source Capterra)
  • Highly deceptive sales process – they won’t let you preview the product or test it in any way before signing up. – False sales; salesperson promised us features that don’t exists – Completely non existent customer supportOutdated, clunky and buggy software – parts of it even rely on Flash, which hasn’t been supported on Apple products since 2007 – They’re quick to refer to their inhouse legal team when you want to question the contract and won’t entertain ideas of leaving the platform BEWARE! We’ve been trapped and are now locked in for three years with a complicated and completely unusable product. It’s an absolutely disgusting team of people who have no respect for the customer at any stage of the journey – they just want to get you signed up and then you’re treated like garbage. Richard N. (Source Capterra)
  • “The premise of the application and feature set is great, but the implementation is poor with it really feeling like they have tacked together multiple different pieces of software […] There are many many many many really poor user experience pieces wasting considerable user time and the answer when saying that is poor is “Unfortunately, this is the expected behaviour of the system”” James H. (Source GetApp)
  • “It does it’s job, but the user interface and functionality leave a lot to be desired. The only way to get answers to questions is through logging a ticket, and this can sometimes take a while to get a response. This can be frustrating when the issue is timely. […] The course building application is woefully restricting and dated. We don’t use it anymore, and create eLearning modules in a different program to upload into ELMO.” Adam J. (Source GetApp)
  • “There is no option to save pdf’s or other documents (emails) in employee’s profile , believe it or not, so we have to compile employee files separately which defeats the purpose for the system . After many conversations with our account manager there has been no definitive timeframe to rectify this huge problem. Also the salary doesn’t automatically feed to key pay (our payroll system) , so we have to add the salary in both ELMO and our payroll system separately . Setting up ELMO has been complicated. When sending pay or leave related emails the link doesn’t work. Again no timeframe to rectifying this problem. Caroline S. (Source GetApp)
  • “it is hard to filter for forms, payroll and HR do not integrate well together e.g. if there is a change of manager/position title – that doesnt flow into payroll. employee records are not able to be tracked properly in Elmo, e.g. when an employee has resigned but comes back to the business the system is unable to keep record of that date. Two different accounts need to be created to ensure when reports are pulled data on employees old role and new role are recorded.” Verified User in Financial Services (Source G2)

What are ELMO Software’s Ratings from Other Review Sites?

(As of January 2024)

  • Capterra: 4.5/5
  • G2: 4.6/5
  • GetApp: 4.5/5
  • Software Advice: 4.5/5
  • TrustRadius: 8.3/10
  • SelectHub: 87%

What’s My Final Verdict on ELMO Software?

ELMO Software is a cloud-based all-in-one HR software serving mostly mid-sized organizations in Australia and New Zealand, which boasts a comprehensive arsenal of features to address various HRIS needs. 

It purports to be highly configurable, supposedly giving businesses an edge in terms of flexibility in tailoring solutions for their unique processes and workflows. And while it’s indeed designed to be all that, I’m not really convinced that it does all that it promises to do. At times, it feels like I’m dealing with something that is quite underdeveloped — various bits and pieces cobbled together to create a not-so-unified whole. 

Now, I know that might sound a bit harsh, but I’ll offer a couple of considerations to illustrate the point. Its HR and payroll modules do not integrate well together, even when they’re supposed to work seamlessly as components of one single system, such as when changes in position or title do not reflect in payroll and need manual rectification. The learning management system can be quite helpful for some industries, but for others, it might be a total bust for being irrelevant and obsolete. Additionally, the promised ease of configuration might just be actually that — a promise, as it can be difficult to set up and then tailor to the needs of various departments or divisions across an organization. Plus, certain parts of it even rely on Flash, which is super outdated and is not supported on Apple products for nearly a decade now.

The software can also be clunky and buggy at times, and resolutions don’t always come promptly. Customer service is abysmally poor and reliant on ticket logging, which can be quite frustrating. Furthermore, they don’t list any pricing details on their website, which strikes me as odd and counterintuitive to transparency.

But worst of all, users have reported that they’ve been promised features that turned out to be not present at all in the product when they finally purchased a subscription. False advertisement and deceptive sales processes are things I will not tolerate, ever. 

Now, on to the silver lining and giving credit where credit is due: ELMO Software provides a lot of other helpful automations that help relieve administrative burdens for payroll, rostering, time and attendance management, and HR processes. Catering to STP2 compliance needs through seamless integration with ABA bank files so that users can be confident with a stress-free payroll experience deserves to be recognized. 

Another thing that I think they got absolutely right is the highly intuitive rostering calendar that helps managers stay on top of availabilities and absences so that they can schedule the right people for the right shifts. 

I also like the powerful analytics provided by the HR module which gives businesses visibility to the important numbers and trends affecting their workforce and allows employees to be a part of that by giving them the ability to enter their own details into the system, including banking and taxation details, super and benefits, work patterns and a lot more. It’s also worth noting that all of that information is protected securely in an ISO-certified system.

ELMO Software has the right premise, a great design, and a lot of potential. But unless they address all the concerns raised by their users over the years — especially the most pressing and significant ones — they’d be only wasting that potential and tarnishing their reputation. They’re already doing quite a respectable job at present, so we can just imagine the heights they could reach if they’d put in more effort in ensuring that they actually deliver what they promise.