Gusto Review - Your All-in-One Tool for HR, Payroll and Benefits

2023.12.25 04:02 PM By Joshua Taddeo, Principal Consultant
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Data Tracking
Business owners have to wear many hats, and one of the most important aspects of business operations is payroll. The process can be intimidating if you're struggling to keep up with other existing duties and especially if you need help understanding complex tax regulations, which can differ from state to state. The good news is that Gusto can help. Gusto is a top-rated HR platform that also offers benefits for businesses. This software makes it easy to pay your employees while maintaining your sanity. Unlike some competitors, Gusto can easily handle all types of workers, from salary or hourly employees to contractors and even team members abroad. The platform is easy to use, and there's a mobile app to help employees track their money and set up savings. In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about Gusto, its features, and its benefits. That way, you can simplify your HR and payroll operations

Full-Service Payroll

Gusto is the all-in-one platform to manage payroll, benefits, HR tools, compliance support, and more. The core of their offerings starts with being able to manage payroll. However, we'll cover their most essential features across various helpful areas that Gusto supports. 

Unlimited Payroll Runs

Gusto offers the flexibility of unlimited payroll runs, allowing you to process payments as often as needed. This feature adapts to the dynamic needs of your workforce, ensuring that you can seamlessly accommodate various payment schedules, bonus distributions, or any off-cycle payrolls. Whether you need to run payroll weekly, bi-weekly, or on a customized schedule, Gusto empowers you to do so without any constraints. This flexibility is especially beneficial for businesses with diverse compensation structures and varying pay rates or those operating in industries where frequent payroll adjustments are necessary. 

The ability to run unlimited payroll cycles ensures that you can meet the unique demands of your employees and respond promptly to any changes in your organization's payroll requirements. Gusto's user-friendly interface makes the entire process efficient and straightforward, enabling you to easily manage your payroll operations while maintaining accuracy and compliance. With Gusto's user-friendly platform, approving payroll is seamless and straightforward. The intuitive interface provides a comprehensive overview of each payroll cycle, allowing you to review and approve payments confidently.

As you navigate the system, you can access detailed breakdowns of all deductions and taxes associated with each payroll run. Gusto ensures transparency by presenting a clear and organized summary, outlining every element contributing to the final payroll figures. This visibility into deductions and taxes is crucial for accuracy and compliance, enabling you to verify that you correctly account for all necessary withholdings, benefits, and taxes before finalizing the payroll. Gusto's commitment to simplifying payroll management extends to its detailed reporting capabilities. You can generate comprehensive reports that provide insights into deductions and taxes over various time frames, aiding in budgeting, financial planning, and compliance tracking. 

In addition, your team members can log in to their accounts to access digital pay stubs. Each pay stub offers a comprehensive overview detailing gross earnings, total taxes, benefits, deductions, accrued and used time off, and the final check amount. Beyond pay stubs, employees can conveniently retrieve year-end forms such as W-2s. Notifications via email will alert employees when their latest pay stub is ready for viewing or downloading. Even past employees will maintain ongoing access to their historical pay stubs and W-2s.

Automatic Tax Filing

Gusto's Automatic Tax Filing feature revolutionizes payroll tax compliance, offering a stress-free experience. This advanced functionality eliminates the burden of manually handling federal, state, and local payroll tax forms, ensuring accuracy and compliance with every payroll cycle. Gusto automates the entire tax filing process by leveraging cutting-edge e-file, e-sign, and e-fax technologies. As a business owner, you no longer need to navigate the complexities of tax regulations, worry about meeting filing deadlines, or spend valuable time filling out and submitting various forms. Gusto takes care of these tasks on your behalf, streamlining the administrative aspect of payroll management. While this feature ensures your payroll tax forms are submitted securely and on time, reducing the risk of errors and penalties associated with manual filing, you should still double-check the filings before submission since you are liable for them as an officer of the corporation. 

International Contractor Payments

With its International Contractor Payments feature, Gusto goes beyond borders, offering a global payroll solution for certain employee types. This specialized service can meet the unique needs of businesses engaging international contractors, providing a seamless and comprehensive platform for managing payments globally. Navigating international payroll can be complex, with varying regulations, currencies, and payment methods across different countries. Gusto simplifies this process by facilitating payments to international contractors, ensuring that your business can efficiently compensate its global workforce without the hassle of managing multiple systems.

The platform's support for international contractor payments includes features that address the intricacies of cross-border transactions, such as currency conversion, compliance with local tax regulations, and adherence to international payment standards. Thus, it streamlines the payment process and helps businesses comply with the diverse payroll rules in different countries. Gusto's commitment to providing a comprehensive solution extends to its user-friendly interface, making it easy for businesses to manage and process payments for international contractors alongside their domestic workforce. With this feature, Gusto enables businesses to operate seamlessly globally, ensuring that payroll remains a smooth and integrated aspect of global workforce management.
Employee Benefits

Employee Benefits

Gusto also provides features for businesses needing help setting up and managing employee benefits. Businesses can effortlessly enroll in Gusto's diverse range of benefits, including:

Health Benefits: Facilitate the purchase of group health, dental, and vision insurance plans through Gusto. Administer benefits seamlessly on the platform, allowing employees to opt in or out. Manage flexible spending accounts and health savings accounts effortlessly. That said, Gusto only offers health benefits in 37 states and DC. Make sure to check with Gusto for current coverage.

Commuter: Easily manage commuter stipends or company car perks through Gusto's platform.

Life Insurance: Access employee life insurance plans via Gusto, with straightforward benefits administration. Employees can conveniently opt in or out through the platform.

Retirement: Administer various retirement plans, including Traditional and Roth 401(k), to meet diverse needs.

Workers' Compensation: Gusto streamlines workers' compensation management through NEXT Insurance, providing a comprehensive solution for businesses to handle claims, premiums, and compliance seamlessly. As a result, it ensures that your workforce remains safe in case of work-related injuries or illnesses, and businesses can easily navigate the complexities of workers' compensation. Gusto also extends its benefits portfolio beyond the norm, offering unique features like college savings, financial wellness, and charity matching. 

College Savings: Collaborate with Gradvisor to administer a 529 college savings plan. Employees can make post-tax contributions to build savings for college tuition.

Financial Wellness: Use the Gusto Wallet app as more than just a self-service portal. Employees can split their paychecks, manage accounts or cash cards, and track spending. Access savings accounts for enhanced financial well-being.

Charitable Giving: Gusto streamlines charitable giving by deducting donations directly from paychecks and contributing to a chosen charity. Employers can choose to match a percentage of employee donations, with the option to set per-employee match limits, maximizing the impact of contributions.

Fringe Benefits: Customize perks like gym memberships or tuition assistance for your employees' paychecks. Gusto automatically tracks and taxes these benefits accordingly.

Adding a custom benefit your company offers is a straightforward process with Gusto. For example, when incorporating a gym wellness benefit, you can easily set it up by providing a name and specifying the contribution amounts from the employee and the employer for each pay period. The user-friendly interface simplifies the initial setup.

Time and Attendance

Gusto's Time Tracking Tools offer a comprehensive solution that seamlessly synchronizes with payroll and provides an efficient and accurate method for managing work hours. Key features include:

Sync with Payroll: Gusto's Time Tracking Tools integrate seamlessly with payroll processes, ensuring that recorded hours effortlessly align with payroll calculations. This synchronization streamlines payroll management, reducing the risk of errors and saving valuable time.

Mobile Tracking: Employees can conveniently track their work hours on the go using Gusto's mobile tracking feature. This flexibility enables accurate time recording, whether in the office or remotely, contributing to a more dynamic and responsive workforce.

Overtime Alerts: Gusto's Time Tracking Tools include built-in overtime alerts to help employers and employees stay informed about exceeded work hours. This feature provides timely notifications, ensuring compliance with labor regulations and helping manage labor costs effectively.

PTO Policies: The Time Tracking Tools seamlessly integrate with PTO (Paid Time Off) policies. You'll get efficient tracking of time-off requests, ensuring that employees adhere to established PTO policies and helping employers manage workforce availability effectively.

Within their time management section, Gusto offers suggestions for expected time off policies like paid time off, sick leave, and holiday paid leave. Alternatively, you have the flexibility to create your own time off policy. Whether opting for an existing policy or crafting a new one, Gusto guides you through a step-by-step process involving choosing the type, giving the policy a name, and selecting the employees to whom the policy applies. The newly created policy seamlessly integrates into the time off dashboard, with Gusto's user-friendly setup proving efficient. We appreciate Gusto's proactive suggestions for time off policies.

From the employee perspective, accessing accrued and used time off is straightforward in the web browser version of Gusto. Initiating a time-off request involves choosing from 12 different time-off types, such as bereavement, sick leave, parental leave, and others, before specifying the requested dates and adding an optional memo. You, as the administrator, can quickly approve time-off requests. Gusto will automatically calculate the time off into your payroll, so you don't have to make the deductions yourself. While Gusto can track time independently, you can sync data from other time-tracking tools to Gusto. For example, you may track employee's time through a dedicated time-tracking tool or a project management platform. 

Hiring and Onboarding

Hiring and Onboarding

Insight into hiring and onboarding tools provided by Gusto, such as job postings, custom checklists, and document management​​. Gusto continues beyond payroll calculations or benefits administration; it can also streamline hiring and onboarding. The platform minimizes the time and effort required with features like customizable onboarding checklists, offer letter sending, and online storage for all onboarding documents. You can say goodbye to traditional onboarding paperwork once you align your onboarding workflow with your HR team. Here's how the onboarding features work: 

Job Postings: Gusto facilitates creating and managing job postings, streamlining the hiring process. The platform enables employers to reach potential candidates effectively by crafting informative and engaging job listings.

Custom Checklists: With customizable onboarding checklists, Gusto empowers businesses to tailor their onboarding processes to specific needs. This feature ensures that your team systematically addresses essential tasks, contributing to a seamless onboarding experience for new hires.

Document Management: Gusto simplifies document management during onboarding by providing a centralized platform for storing and organizing all relevant documents. From offer letters to compliance forms, the platform ensures secure and efficient handling of onboarding paperwork.

Gusto offers its native applicant tracking tool exclusively to Gusto Plus and Premium customers. However, integration with external Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) like JazzHR or Greenhouse is available for those opting for the Simple plan.

Gusto excels in expediting the onboarding process for new employees, whether they work in person or remotely. Features like background checks and benefits enrollment are complemented by cloud-based services, including e-signatures and state tax registration, fostering a streamlined onboarding experience. Adding an employee or independent contractor is simplified by entering their essential details such as name and email address. The platform provides a checkbox option to invite the added individual to complete the remaining information themselves. Gusto's software includes personalized features to help new hires feel part of the team. From sending digital offer letters to setting birthday reminders, the platform enables meaningful connections with employees, even in virtual settings.

Creating offer letter templates for reuse is remarkably simple with Gusto. You can efficiently generate personalized offer letters by assigning a name to your template, such as "Sales Development Manager," and customizing it with built-in fields for the new employee's name, compensation, and other variables. Adding the company signature makes it official. Once a new employee signs their offer letter, Gusto takes charge of the subsequent onboarding steps, ensuring a seamless setup for their new role even before day one. The platform goes the extra mile by offering the option to send a digital welcome card, contributing to a warm and welcoming onboarding experience.

Talent Management

Talent Management

Gusto's performance review module, exclusive to Premium plan holders, is crafted to evaluate employees' goal achievement in the workplace. Performance reviews present an opportunity to provide constructive feedback and identify strategies to support employees or colleagues in managing their careers effectively. This module offers real-time tracking of review progress, facilitates feedback sharing, allows setting completion deadlines, includes manager review summaries, and gathers valuable insights. Here's how it works:

Administrative Setup: Administrators initiate and configure a review cycle, assigning specific reviewers for each active employee. Reviewers, designated by admins, then provide feedback for the assigned participants.

Review Process: Reviewers can access each participant's goals and existing feedback while completing their evaluations. This transparent approach ensures a comprehensive understanding of the individual's performance.

Progress Tracking: A performance management dashboard, accessible from the employee profile, offers real-time updates on review completion rates. You'll get efficient progress tracking and timely follow-ups with teammates or employees as needed.

Insight Gathering: After completion, administrators can evaluate feedback from the reviews, fostering valuable insights. This information becomes a foundation for constructive conversations with reports or teammates at an opportune time.

Feedback Sharing: Upon the conclusion of self-evaluations and reviewer evaluations, administrators can share the performance review with the respective employees, fostering a culture of open communication. Administrators can add a summary visible to all or private notes exclusively for themselves and other admins. It enhances communication and documentation within the performance review framework.

Once administrators set up a review cycle, participants receive email notifications prompting them to complete their performance reviews. Also, the Home page provides reminders directing users to a dedicated Performance section in Gusto. This centralized hub allows users to monitor progress, submit reviewer evaluations, provide feedback, and fulfill self-evaluations within a user-friendly interface.

HR Survey

Employee Satisfaction Survey

Engaged employees are more likely to be focused, motivated, and committed. This heightened sense of purpose and dedication increases productivity as employees invest energy and effort into their tasks. That's why Gusto offers an employment satisfaction survey. Gusto's Employee Happiness Survey is a valuable tool that provides deep insights into the well-being of your clients' teams. The Team Insights Report, a standout feature Gusto offers, compiles responses from the automated Employee Happiness Survey, offering a comprehensive overview accessible on Gusto's platform. This report focuses on four crucial areas:
  • Gauge the overall satisfaction and happiness levels among your client's team members.
  • Assess factors influencing team morale and retention rates, identifying potential areas for improvement.
  • Explore how employees perceive the benefits provided, ensuring they meet their expectations and needs.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of managerial practices within the organization.

The survey is instrumental in identifying department-specific trends, where high satisfaction in some areas may contrast with chronic dissatisfaction in others. This insight triggers a crucial phase of inquiry, addressing questions related to management, staffing levels, and organizational processes.

The Team Insights Report is a powerful tool to demonstrate the correlation between team culture and revenue. By pointing out instances where revenue and team morale align or diverge, you showcase the tangible impact of organizational culture on business outcomes.

The survey poses questions or statements related to various aspects of the workplace, such as company success, perceived direction, product/service quality, job expectations, and managerial relationships. The automated and anonymous nature of the survey ensures honest responses from employees, promoting a safe space for them to express their feelings. As a business leader, leveraging Gusto's Employee Happiness Survey allows you to connect the dots between team satisfaction, performance, and revenue.

Elevate Your Business with Gusto

Gusto is a widely used payroll and HR software designed for businesses. This platform streamlines and automates payroll taxes, provides employee benefits, efficient onboarding and time tracking tools, and more. As a business owner, you get to manage your employees all in one place without worrying about complex setups or drumming up legal documents. Ready to try Gusto? Sign up today and experience the ease of managing HR tasks with Gusto. Simplify your business operations and create a more efficient work environment for yourself and your employees.