Zoho People 5.0 Review: Has Zoho Delivered on Their Promise?

by | HR & Recruitment

With the release of Zoho People 5.0, Zoho promised a much-needed overhaul of its user interface and a host of new features to streamline human resources and workforce management. As the early indicators come in, it’s time to evaluate whether Zoho has delivered on its ambitious promises. This review dives into the latest updates, examining the revamped interface, enhanced functionalities, and new tools designed to improve the overall user experience.

From the fresh layout and intuitive navigation to the eagerly anticipated sandbox functionality, Zoho People 5.0 aims to address long-standing user concerns while introducing innovative solutions for HR professionals. Join us as we explore the key changes and improvements, offering insights from industry experts and highlighting what works well, what needs refinement, and what’s coming next in this comprehensive review of Zoho People 5.0.

“As an occasional user of Zoho People, I have to admit I am not a fan of the current user interface. It’s just not straightforward to build a view or report that I want of my direct reports’ info. Having seen this new interface, I like the look of what’s coming but hold out for more flexibility in on-demand report building. However, as the owner of A2Z Cloud delivering Zoho services, I am delighted at the advent of sandbox functionality for development and enhancement of a People environment.”

– Lucy Beck, CEO of A2Z Cloud


Lucy Beck

What has changed? 


  • New layout and appearance across the entire product.

Spaces, Operations & Settings:

  • Viewing information and taking actions are now divided into three areas: Spaces, Operations, and Settings.

Spaces: All data, whether it belongs to an individual employee, a team, or the whole organisation, is now consolidated into Spaces. This makes it easier for an employee to use My Space to view their profile, calendar, leave allowance, files, and other related data such as assets/devices allocated. Users can switch between “My Space,” “My Team’s” view, and an organisation-wide view without using filters.

Zoho People v.5 Overview

Operations: Changes to employee information will now be managed in the Operations section, including day-to-day administrative actions such as granting discretionary leave, reassigning work hours, or sending documents for e-Signature.

Settings: All configurations or customisations will now be exclusively managed in the Settings section. This includes adding new leave policies, setting up custom approval rules, automated reminders, managing permissions, and activating third-party extensions.


  • A2Z Cloud is particularly pleased to see the arrival of Sandbox functionality. Available on request, the sandbox functionality allows the creation of a replica of the current system in a test environment, with options to recreate the system setup without data or with selective data.

Performance Appraisal Templates:

  • Pre-built templates include appraisal policy settings such as ‘Yearly Appraisal with Self and Multi-Rater’ or ‘Yearly Appraisal with Hike.’ These retain the ability to design an appraisal cycle from scratch or reuse a template with minor tweaks.

Employee Engagement Survey Templates:

  • Pre-designed survey templates for employee engagement introduce metrics such as Employee Happiness, Employee Recognition, Innovation, Learning and Development, and more. A2Z Cloud recommends Friday Pulse as the best platform for measuring Employee Happiness.

Security Control Settings:

  • Enhanced to accommodate the new structure, allowing extended visibility for handling Data, Operations, or Settings, or a combination of these.

What do we like?

  • Home is Now ‘Space’ious!: The new Home tab layout neatly categorizes information into My Space, Team, and Organization sections, collating all details into a single screen in an easy-to-read format. Examples include checking in to work, managing approvals, and applying for leave.
  • Sandbox: Provides flexibility to create new automation rules or leave policies, test them fully without impacting existing information, and deploy them on a planned date with advance announcements to staff.
  • More Templates: Pre-built Performance Appraisal and Employee Engagement Templates make it easy for an HR admin to configure without losing touch with the staff.
Zoho People v.5 Employee Engagement Templates

What can be improved?

Operations & Settings List: The list currently displays the five most recently accessed Services. It needs to be more user-friendly, either displaying all Services in a single view or allowing an administrator to bookmark frequently accessed Services.

Cumbersome Navigation: Administrative functions like setting up a new Role and configuring permissions for each Service, previously accessible in a single screen, now require navigating to each Service setting. This process needs streamlining.

Customising Spaces Centrally: Large organisations would benefit from the ability to standardise the list of tabs displayed in My Space and control the information in the Profile header to keep it relevant.

Lost Centralised Monthly Leave Calendar View: The new version only allows weekly views, which is too limited.

What’s coming next?

  • Enhancements to the Mobile App
  • SCORM Compliance

What is SCORM and why do I need to know?

SCORM, which is short for Sharable Content Object Reference Model, is like a set of guidelines for eLearning software. It helps different eLearning tools work together smoothly, kind of like a universal language for them to communicate.

Think of it like this: SCORM tells software developers how to create their programmes so they can easily share information and play nice with other eLearning programs. It’s the go-to standard in the eLearning world, making sure everyone is on the same page!

SCORM compliance will be very useful to A2Z Cloud developers should you wish to integrate your preferred eLearning platform to Zoho People 5.

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