BambooHR is a complete human resource solution used by more than 23,500 companies globally. The platform is popular among small and mid-sized companies. It differentiates itself from vendors like Gusto, Rippling, Papaya Global, OnPay and others by focusing on advanced HR features and payroll and compliance.
Founded in 2008, the cloud-based software helps HR managers with all aspects of the employee lifecycle, from recruitment to onboarding, performance reports, time tracking and benefits. BambooHR is not designed for companies that want to outsource their entire HR departments.
Do you want a fully outsourced HR solution? Check out the best PEO companies for 2023 to learn more about alternatives to BambooHR. Our top PEO recommendation is Justworks, a PEO for U.S.-based companies that compares favorably to BambooHR.
BambooHR fast facts
Pricing: Available upon request.
- Advanced HR lifecycle tools: From hire to onboarding to performance.
- Unlimited payroll runs, including benefits and tax filing.
- Built-in time and attendance.
- Mobile app for employees.
- HR and payroll reports to increase visibility and data-driven decision-making.
BambooHR does not share its price on its website. Interested companies must contact account executives to get a free price quote. The platform has been very successful with small and medium companies, so pricing can be considered accessible.
Businesses with 20 or fewer employees are charged a monthly flat rate, while those who employ 20 or more people can access the software at a price per-employee per month basis. BambooHR does not require an annual contract and applies discounts for companies scaling and hiring new workers.
The solution is available under two plans, Essentials and Advantage. The starting plan offers basic HR features, while Advantage adds several more advanced HR tools. Additionally, users can access optional add-ons such as payroll, benefits administration, performance management and others. BambooHR offers a free trial with limited features, fully functional for 30 days.
BambooHR’s key features
BambooHR features are centralized under a single platform to integrate siloed systems, separate sources of data and disconnected workflows. Companies use the cloud platform to modernize and improve HR teams’ performance.
All BambooHR features can be divided into four main categories: HR data and reporting, hiring and onboarding, payroll, time and benefits, employee experience and performance.
HR data and reporting
Companies use these features to securely and efficiently store all employee data in one database. The main benefits of this technology include data security and privacy, visibility and automated reporting.
The features allow companies to track and report on sensitive employee data. At the same time, its automated technology leverages over 49 built-in reports, which can be used to gain insights and make performance changes throughout the organization. The central database is also available for HR teams and employees through the Bamboo mobile App, increasing accessibility and workers’ experience.
Hiring and onboarding
One of the greatest strengths of BambooHR is its modern features, which are designed to improve the experience of candidates and new hires. These allow companies to attract, hire seamlessly and retain talent.
Features like the applicant tracking system enable businesses to communicate effectively with candidates throughout the hiring and onboarding process. Automatic notifications keep applicants and HR teams informed and updated, while added permissions allow others in the company to review new applicants. The entire system is automated to keep the process moving forward, with electronic documents providing rapid signatures.
Similarly, the platform manages a modern experience for new hires and onboarding and offboarding. Companies have found these features helpful to build hybrid and remote teams and to deal with spikes in recruiting and scaling back.
Payroll, time and benefits
The payroll, time and benefits features make BambooHR an integral solution that goes beyond strictly HR services. With these features, teams can visualize employee payroll and benefits in one dashboard. Additionally, they can manage time-off and time-track workers while preventing double-entry and errors, as well as speeding up manual approval processes.
Companies use these features to streamline the time-consuming process, manually entering data and automating taxes.
The platform offers both national and international payroll (through integrations).
The U.S. payroll solution provides:
- An easy, three-step process.
- Federal and state tax filing.
- Exceptional customer support.
- A single source of data.
Using BambooHR, teams can run reports at any time to increase visibility and make informed decisions. Businesses that need global payrolls can use Blue Marble or CloudPay, which integrate with BambooHR.
Employee experience and performance
These features are another element that sets BambooHR apart from its competitors. They are used to build modern, two-way communication channels between HR and employees, track performance and offer wellbeing programs.
- Employee satisfaction with eNPS: Feedback and sentiment tools built into BambooHR to develop communications and take action, while improving performance and building culture and employee experience. Surveys are used to create scores with in-depth analytics.
- Performance management: Businesses can manage their workers´ goals and performance, setting milestones and doing assessments to support employees.
- Employee wellbeing: Surveys allow companies to check in with their workers and measure happiness, wellness, work-life balance, engagement and work health.
- Platform fully dedicated to providing all modern HR tools a company needs for its HR department.
- Can run national and international payrolls.
- Manages tax and compliance.
- Ideal for building company culture.
- Helps businesses attract and retain talent.
- Seamless hiring, onboarding and offboarding.
- Excellent visibility and report generation capacity.
- Breaks siloes.
- Allows companies to become data-driven.
- Mobile and web cloud applications for both the company and its workers.
- Transparent and easy to use.
- Can synchronize, track and manage employee time, schedules, time off, working hours and more.
- Price not disclosed on the website.
- Global payroll is only available through integrations.
- Not suited for companies looking to outsource the entirety of their HR departments.
- No 24/7 support.
While BambooHR is a robust HR solution that includes payroll and compliance, it may not be the best fit for your business in some instances. If you are looking to outsource your HR department completely, or if you operate internationally and need to meet compliance in different countries, you might be better off looking into BambooHR´s competitors, such as Justworks, Gusto, Rippling or Papaya Global.
In contrast to BambooHR, which is an in-house software solution for small businesses, Justworks is a fully outsourced PEO solution. It has two plans, one that focuses on payroll, hiring, onboarding and other employee management features, and one that adds employee benefits administration. Unlike the majority of PEOs, Justworks lists its transparent pricing upfront: Plans start at $59 per employee per month.
Read our full Justworks review to learn more.
Gusto is known for being a very budget-friendly PEO solution and includes all the HR features that BambooHR has. While it lacks advanced HR functionalities, its strengths in payroll, tax and benefits, sided with a very user-friendly interface, make it a solid option.
Read our full Gusto review to learn more.
Rippling is an all-in-one platform that combines payroll, benefits, HR, IT and compliance. The platform is designed to automate and streamline the administrative tasks of managing a workforce. Rippling is more comprehensive than BambooHR and can integrate with over 500 apps. However, it may be more complex and expensive than BambooHR and offers a different level of customer support.
Read our full Rippling review to learn more.
If you run international operations with strict global compliance and payroll demands, you should look into Papaya Global. The platform is a global payroll and workforce management solution that helps companies hire and pay employees across 140 countries. Papaya Global is more flexible and scalable than BambooHR and can handle multiple currencies and languages. However, it does not offer advanced HR features like BambooHR does, such as employee self-service and HR reporting.
Read our full Papaya Global review to learn more.
To write our review and evaluate BambooHR’s features, we looked at sites that compile aggregate data based on verified user reviews, such as Trustpilot, Gartner Magic Quadrant, Gartner Peer Insights and others. We also reviewed demos on vendor sites, test-drove the software when possible and scoured through the official sites of each vendor to evaluate its features, customer service, user-friendliness, price and scalability.
SEE: How to Choose Payroll Software