If you’re taking on HR management duties for your small business (on top of your million other jobs, of course), things can get really overwhelming really quickly. But with a ton of HR management solutions on the market right now, there’s no reason for you to stress. CakeHR is just one of your many options if you’re looking to streamline and automate some crucial personnel management tasks.
Simplicity is the name of the game for CakeHR—they even took their name from the idea that it’s “a piece of cake” to use their software and navigate its clean, streamlined interface—so this can be a great option for business owners who might shy away from complex software and who want an equally seamless user experience for their employees. But for that reason, CakeHR may not be the best option for business owners seeking more advanced functionalities from their HR platform.
In this CakeHR review, we’ll walk you through the software’s major features, pricing model, and take a look at what actual CakeHR users have to say about the platform. And in case you decide that CakeHR isn’t right for you, or if you simply want to know what else is out there, we’ll also tell you about two recommended alternatives to CakeHR.
CakeHR makes full-service HR software for businesses of all sizes, but their platform is probably best suited for smaller businesses. Based in London, the tech company currently serves businesses in over 1,200 cities in over 90 countries worldwide; and although CakeHR is a relatively small company, their team works constantly to improve, update, and augment their platform.
What sets CakeHR apart from other HR platforms is that their offerings are totally customizable. They offer six discrete modules, which business owners looking to manage and streamline some or all of their HR processes can mix and match however they want or need. And since this is cloud-based software, all modules can be accessed on CakeHR’s mobile app, which is available for both Apple and Android devices.
With that in mind, here’s an overview of each of CakeHR’s major offerings:
With this module, admins can approve or deny employee time-off requests (which employees can create and track through a self-service portal) via email, Slack, or through the CakeHR dashboard or app. All updates are automatically synced to a shared company calendar, which employees can also access, and generated into a customized report.
CakeHR’s Performance module includes tools for business owners or their HR personnel to gather information about employee and company-wide performance on both a quantitative and qualitative level. Here, admins can set and track company-wide OKRs; issue custom, anonymous surveys; and request quick feedback, while employees and managers can schedule one-to-one meetings that automatically integrate with their calendars. You can also build custom 360-feedback forms for each employee, which they and their requested coworkers and managers can complete on the app or dashboard.
CakeHR’s Shift Scheduling software allows business owners to assign, plan, and edit both individual and group employee shifts via a drag-and-drop calendar. Employees can also access this software to share their shift availability.
Employees can clock in and out for each shift, then submit their timesheets for approval at the end of the period. Timesheets update automatically if an employee is off work (it’ll integrate with data from the Leave Management module). This module also has an advanced reporting feature.
For super-simple expense tracking, employees can take pictures of receipts in the CakeHR mobile app, which the software will then automatically turn into an expense entry. (Admins can approve or deny submitted expenses before sending it on for entry.) Like all other CakeHR software, the Expenses module also allows admins to generate reports.
Perhaps the most sophisticated of CakeHR’s modules, the Recruitment software is an end-to-end recruiting and hiring tool where admins can manage their hiring pipelines; write job descriptions and applications; schedule interviews; create customized, legally compliant scorecards for each prospective employee; and, of course, create detailed reports.
Beyond these six core modules, CakeHR offers onboarding tools, an employee self-service portal, and integrations with G Suite, Slack, and Zapier.
CakeHR charges per employee per module (remember that you can pick and choose whichever modules you’d like), with pricing for each module as follows:
- Leave management: $5.50 per employee per month
- Performance: $3 per employee per month
- Shift scheduling: $3 per employee per month
- Timesheets: $3 per employee per month
- Expenses: $2.50 per employee per month
The exception here is their Recruitment module, which starts at $200 per year. CakeHR also offers a 14-day free trial, where new users can test out all their modules before committing to a paid plan. And once you do sign up for your modules of choice, you can cancel your subscription at any time without incurring an early cancellation fee.
CakeHR User Reviews
CakeHR receives overwhelmingly positive reviews across major review platforms, earning over four stars on sites like Capterra, Software Advice, and G2 Crowd.
Happy reviewers have pointed out CakeHR’s intuitive and attractive interface, fair pricing, useful integrations, responsive customer support team, and overall ease of use (even for people who generally aren’t tech-savvy) among their accolades.
Criticisms of the software are mostly limited to matters of personal preference. For instance, some users request more integrations, others request more efficient processes for some of the modules, and some others have encountered minor glitches. With all that in mind, users across the board commend CakeHR’s team for fixing bugs and updating their platform consistently, and many others had no negative comments to report.
Top Alternatives to CakeHR
Based on those positive CakeHR reviews alone, this platform may be well worth your consideration if you’re seeking an easy and intuitive HR management software. That said, CakeHR isn’t the most robust HR platform on the market. It’s missing some crucial functionalities, like payroll and benefits administration, that larger businesses really need in a comprehensive HR system. So if you fall into that camp, here are just two other HR software systems we’d recommend looking into.
One of the most popular HR platforms for small to midsize businesses, Zenefits is an especially smart choice if you’re looking for payroll and benefits administration features in your HR software. This platform bundles end-to-end HR tools, advanced payroll services (which includes automatic payroll tax calculation and filing), benefits (including health and retirement plans), and scheduling tools into a single, integrated platform.
Despite their tech-forward solutions, Zenefits still puts a premium on their human expertise—as an add-on service, Zenefits clients can get unlimited access to Zenefits’ team of HR and payroll experts if they run into any questions, ranging from navigating compliance requirements to advice on how to handle a tough HR-related issue. It’s a truly comprehensive HR and payroll platform and should be at the top of your list if your team and needs are growing quickly, or if you’re looking to consolidate some of your trickiest administrative tasks (payroll taxes, anyone?).
Zenefits has three base plans ranging from $8 to $21 per employee per month, but users can add payroll, advisory services, or benefits administration using your own broker (rather than Zenefits’ partner broker) onto any of those plans for added fees.
Another one of the best HR software platforms for small businesses, BambooHR could be a better choice than CakeHR or Zenefits if you’re looking for more comprehensive recruiting and hiring tools in particular. With BambooHR, you’ll receive a secure employee information and records database, customizable workflows to automate common HR processes, a robust applicant tracking software, new hire onboarding tools, and a dedicated employee performance management software (available as an add-on service), among so many other features.
BambooHR doesn’t offer benefits administration or their own payroll services, though they do integrate with TRAXPayroll, a highly rated online payroll tax software. BambooHR also offers integrated time tracking and paid time off tools as add-on services to either of their two service plans.
BambooHR offers quote-based pricing, which varies depending on how many employees you have and which of their services you’d like to use. You can receive a free quote by contacting the company directly, either by filling out a short form online or by calling to speak with a sales representative.
Is CakeHR Right for Your Business?
What really stands out about CakeHR is its ease of use, customization, fair price point, and excellent customer service team, which all makes this platform a great starter software for small businesses with just a few employees. But there are definitely more advanced platforms out there that can integrate and automate even more complicated processes, like payroll and benefits administration, which CakeHR is noticeably lacking.
That said, CakeHR helpfully offers a 14-day free trial for new users. So if you’re even remotely curious about whether this software can work for you and your employees, it’s absolutely worth availing yourself of that perk. In the meantime, you can look into alternatives (whether that’s Zenefits, BambooHR, or any number of other HR and payroll software out there) so you can feel certain that you’re using the platform that eases as much of your stress as possible.