Running a small business means wearing many different hats—sometimes in one day, and usually at the same time. Managing your business’s human resources is far from the easiest thing on any entrepreneur’s to-do list, which sometimes feels like it grows so long that being a full-time HR rep is impossible.
Thankfully, there are options out there to help you manage your small business HR needs. These options vary in price, features, and overall user-friendliness. BambooHR is among the most popular out there, as it helps small business owners track their openings, current and former staff documents, benefits, time off, and other daily tasks that are essential to keeping an HR operation running smoothly.
Almost every BambooHR review will give you a rundown of what the platform provides, but may not help you determine if the platform is the right fit for you. Our BambooHR review will cover the basics: the BambooHR pricing, features, and competitors that might be a better fit for your business.
As you take a glance at our BambooHR review, bear in mind a few factors to help you make your decision. Namely, you’ll want to pay attention to the overall cost of the platform, what features you need, and BambooHR alternatives that might get the job done better (or for less money). This can help you determine the best HR software for your small business.
What Is BambooHR?
BambooHR is one of several cloud-based software platforms available for small- and medium-sized businesses. The platform makes it easy to keep track of open positions, manage descriptions for job sites, collect applications, and streamline the interviewing process.
BambooHR manages personnel information for new and existing employees, beginning with compensation offers for job candidates all the way to handling employee exists. Instead of managing several different information sources for staff, business owners can use BambooHR to keep their employee documents organized and detailed in one central place.
The BambooHR platform also keeps track of your company’s overall retention rate, helps develop compensation packages for new and existing employees, and provides you with a system for managing your company’s culture and performance reviews. You can also use BambooHR to track time-off requests, and to keep tabs of employees’ timesheets.
Small and medium-sized business rely on BambooHR to keep tabs on their workforce. This can take the shape of tracking which employees are out on leave, whether performance goals are being met, and any time-off requests that need approval. The software also helps business owners track their current benefits packages, helping to make sure they are ACA-compliant, depending on which regulations affect them. All told, BambooHR makes it easy to run a full-fledged HR operation without having to hire a ton of staff in order to do so.
BambooHR Reviews: The Details
Now that you know the basics about BambooHR, let’s dive into what specifics BambooHR reviews cover. We’ll explore BambooHR pricing, features, and its ease of use. Most BambooHR reviews are positive—particularly when it comes to the platform’s simple setup and intuitive interface.
BambooHR offers quote-based pricing. There are two BambooHR plans to choose from, each with a different set of features.
BambooHR Essentials offers a more stripped-down version of the platform, only featuring HR management and employee self-service functions. This can be a great option if you have a narrow set of needs, or don’t have to manage a huge workforce. You’ll be able to take care of basic tasks, such as tracking benefits, storing employee records and documents, keep an employee directory, and managing time-off requests. You’ll also get online access to technical support, but won’t be able to speak to a live BambooHR representative at this service level. If all you need to do is structure a basic organizational chart, maintain a company calendar, and keep tabs on your employees documents, you can get likely get away with using the lighter plan.
If you want to supercharge your BambooHR experience, opt for an Advantage plan. BambooHR Advantage provides hiring and onboarding assistance, employee satisfaction reports, audit trails, robust customization, and data integrations with your company’s other software platforms.
With Advantage, you can track job applicants, manage onboarding and offboarding, use electronic signature functions for paperwork, and track employee training initiatives. You’ll also be able to create tailored workflow and approval processes, set up custom email alerts, use company branding, and institute an audit trail to help keep a record of your HR processes. BambooHR Advantage also gives you access to the software’s API and marketplace for deeper integration into your existing systems. Plus, you can track employee satisfaction online, availing your organization to honest feedback through one central hub.
Unfortunately, as we mentioned, BambooHR offers quote-based pricing, meaning you won’t find the price points for the above plans listed on their website. Instead you’ll have to contact the company and disclose what you’re looking for in your HR needs in order to receive an idea of pricing.
One of the biggest perks that any BambooHR review is sure to cover are the robust BambooHR add-ons available online. These add-ons allow you to set employee goals, create peer feedback mechanisms, conduct employee assessments, and track company-wide performance. You can also automate your timesheets entirely from within the platform, calculate overtime automatically, and create reports for payroll. Each of these BambooHR features make managing the ins-and-outs of your workforce simpler, and automates many time-consuming tasks.
Here are a few of the best BambooHR features that might make it the right HR management platform for your small business.
Keeping track of employee milestones and daily tasks isn’t easy. BambooHR helps take out of some the manual work involved in remembering birthdays, work anniversaries, and other important dates through email alerts. All you need to do is create automated email reminders and choose the recipients. BambooHR will send messages automatically based on the information you put in. This can be great for checking in with new hires, pinging managers to make sure they’re checking in with staff, or dropping end-of-month messages to sales teams to encourage them to hit goals.
Custom Field Editor
The BambooHR custom field editor helps you cut down on unnecessary spreadsheets or standalone documents that are easy to create but hard to maintain frequently. You can drop in custom fields to track just about anything—be it your employees’ favorite colors, albums, or the names of their pets. This can help you make sure that you’re able to keep track of important details, such as geographic information or special skills, or even make note of trivia about employees that helps encourage a more friendly company culture.
Payroll Change Report
It’s not always easy to keep track of payroll changes, especially if you have a large company or don’t have the luxury of a dedicated payroll manager. BambooHR offers a simple tool to alert users to changes in payroll—such as time off requests or missed days—which can keep changes to your payroll calculations from slipping through the cracks.
BambooHR lets you look at historical info about your employees’ salaries, bonuses, or other benefits. This is helpful when determining raises or other salary changes, as you can easily grab a snapshot of what an employee made on a given year or even payroll cycle. No more sifting through old documents in order to hunt down historical information. With BambooHR, you can get these details with the click of a button.
Summary of BambooHR Reviews
Many BambooHR reviews look highly upon the platform as a great way to manage the basics of your workforce. The platform is easy to set up and use, and the level of support given to employees is on par with its peers. Most reviews give it a full five stars, and even the lower-scoring reviews laud BambooHR’s willingness to work with clients to come up with unique solutions to complicated problems.
Most BambooHR users like the platform because it provides a simple and straightforward entry-point to human resource management systems (HRIS for short). As an HRIS, BambooHR is perfect for the first-timer: It manages employee information in a straightforward, easy-to-understand manner for business owners who may not have the strongest human resources abilities. Plus, the BambooHR customer service team is on-hand to help users get out of a jam when it comes to setup or daily use.
Other reviews highlight how well BambooHR integrates with other payroll software platforms. The system only works with a select number of other companies, however, so make sure that your existing software vendors are approved by BambooHR to make the most of your potential integration opportunities.
Most reviews are pretty positive, although a few mention some potential downsides that might make some small business owners want to seek out a BambooHR alternative. The platform can be pricey compared to its rivals, particularly if you need to opt in for the full range of functions. Plus, the functionality of the platform overall pales in comparison to a few of its rivals, which means it might not be the right fit for you if you have advanced or complex needs.
BambooHR Competitors and Alternatives
BambooHR has a few competitors in the space that either offer the same, or more, functions to help you run your HRIS operations. Some BambooHR alternatives come with full payroll integration, employee learning tracking, or other functions that make them a better option in the long-term. Here are a few of the top BambooHR competitors and alternatives that are worth a look:
Kronos Workforce Ready
Kronos Workforce Ready helps small businesses manage their HR functions. Workforce Ready includes many of the core functions that Kronos has built a reputation for within the enterprise space. Kronos Workforce Ready is an all-in-one management tool with that comes with a slew of features, functions, and customizations that make it a viable BambooHR alternative.
Unfortunately, also like BambooHR, Kronos Workforce Ready does not disclose prices on their website. In order to find out how much Workforce Ready will cost your business, you’ll need to request a free quote.
Kronos Workforce Ready also requires a bit more nuanced setup if you want to use the platform in a customized manner, which means it’s less straightforward than BambooHR.
Gusto, while not quite the same service as BambooHR, offer several core components that might make it a better HRIS solution for small business owners. Two of Gusto’s best features are payroll management and tax form creation. The platform is known for providing a seamless way to pay employees and contractors, but recently rolled out higher-tier plans that include comprehensive HR management.
Gusto Core is limited to payroll processing and costs $39 per month, with $6 a month per employee. The Complete package, which includes much of the same functionality as BambooHR, costs the same base-level $39 a month with an additional $12 per employee instead of $6. Gusto also has a new option for contractor-only employers, who simply pay the $6/employee rate and no base price. If you want a system that puts payroll and HR management into one convenient place, then Gusto might be right for you.
Paychex Flex is a BambooHR competitor that comes from one of the biggest companies in payroll management. Paychex has helped companies pay their employees for decades, and Paychex Flex brings many of its renowned features to the small- and mid-sized business sphere. Paychex Flex offers its users with payroll and HR support, which includes benefits administration as well as several other features that help entrepreneurs conduct human resources activities without requiring a big HR team.
Like BambooHR and Kronos Workforce Ready, Paychex Flex does not disclose prices on their website—instead you’ll have to request a free quote.
For a limited time only, Paychex is offering 3 months free payroll; so if you’re thinking of refreshing your payroll services, now is a great time to get Paychex.
The Bottom Line on BambooHR
If you need an HRIS tool with a good amount of features and intuitive design, then BambooHR might be a good option for you. This platform has most of the features you’d need for daily operations, as well as a few to make your life easier when it comes to monthly, quarterly, and yearly reviews. BambooHR won’t cover everything you need to take care of your employees, but it hooks into enough other HR providers to be one of several tools in a small business owner’s HR arsenal.
Sally Lauckner is the editor-in-chief of the Fundera Ledger and the editorial director at Fundera.
Sally has over a decade of experience in print and online journalism. Previously she was the senior editor at SmartAsset—a Y Combinator-backed fintech startup that provides personal finance advice. There she edited articles and data reports on topics including taxes, mortgages, banking, credit cards, investing, insurance, and retirement planning. She has also held various editorial roles at AOL.com, Huffington Post, and Glamour magazine. Her work has also appeared in Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, and Cosmopolitan magazines.