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BambooHR Review

Jeff Hale
Jeff Hale
  • Human resources software is a helpful tool for small businesses to manage their staff's efficiency and avoid expensive compliance mistakes.
  • Selecting the perfect HR software for your business requires you to explore the cost and available features for hiring, compensation, benefits and documentation.
  • We examined five of the leading HR software providers and chose BambooHR as the best for performance management.
  • This article is for business leaders looking for an HR software and service provider to handle general HR needs.

BambooHR is a popular general HR software platform for small and midsize businesses that places a strong emphasis on the people within your organization, earning our best pick for performance management. It focuses on five core areas: data and analytics, hiring, onboarding, compensation, and culture. The award-winning service is highly customizable, with a long list of add-on features available directly from BambooHR or through its Marketplace solutions partners. The open API makes it relatively easy for developers to integrate other applications and share data across systems and generate reports in several formats.

BambooHR

BambooHR

The Verdict

BambooHR is great for businesses looking for HR software with lots of add-on features, customization and third-party integrations. Its performance features are especially impressive, earning it our best pick for performance management in HR software.

Pricing

BambooHR offers two subscription packages, Essentials and Advantage, to cover the HR needs of most small and midsize businesses. Unfortunately, it does not publish or advertise transparent pricing for any of its products or services. While you certainly need to determine all of the features your company will use before you make a purchase decision, you may not have all of that information in the early stages of your buying process, which could make comparing plans and services from alternative providers much more difficult.

Most of the companies we've reviewed in this category at least provide a starting cost (usually a monthly per-user fee on top of the monthly base fee) for their lower-level service packages and add-ons. Existing BambooHR customers have reported pricing from as low as $5 up to $40 per user, per month, which would make this one of the more expensive HR software and service providers.

Essentials

  • Pricing: Custom price quote required

  • Standout features: Employee records, benefits tracking, standard reporting, document storage, email alerts, time-off management, single sign-on, mobile app functionality, workflows and weekday email support

Advantage

  • Pricing: Custom price quote required

  • Standout features: Advanced reporting, branding, audit trails, open API, BambooHR Marketplace access, employee satisfaction gauge with eNPS, onboarding, offboarding, e-signatures, training progress and weekday telephone support

BambooHR also has many add-ons available for its payroll, time-tracking and performance management service categories. These include great options such as full-service tax filing, employee access, timesheets, automatic overtime calculations, self- and manager assessments, and performance reports. However, none of these features are part of one of the subscription packages, requiring you to pay extra for them, and some may only be available with the Advantage plan.

We really like that BambooHR offers a seven-day free trial that doesn't require a credit card. After answering a few short questions about your company, the size of your operation, and your HR needs, you get full access to a demo account customized to your business's requirements.

TipTip: Take advantage of BambooHR's seven-day free trial before buying to be sure it is the right fit for your company and your team. If you still need a bit more time to decide after your trial period expires, just reach out to the BambooHR team to get an extension.

Usability

We demoed the full version of BambooHR, selecting all of the available features for our seven-day trial run.

There's an old saying in business, often misattributed to Peter Drucker, that goes, "What gets measured gets managed." While managers may debate the validity of this, there is no denying that the data selected for the home dashboard of any service is a powerful indicator of what that service deems most valuable. The data BambooHR selects and displays for measurement are all about the people in your company.

The top of BambooHR's dashboard shows vacation and sick time at a glance, as well as who on your team is out, ongoing chat messages, and task updates in a central location.

 

The people-focused admin dashboard immediately shows you who's out for the day and any approved time off in the upper left widget. It also gives you a list of "celebrations" for birthdays and work anniversaries to encourage you and your other admins to help everyone at the company feel noticed and appreciated.

The large center widget for "announcements" gives you access to any time-sensitive notifications regarding lunch appointments, new applicants, employee requests, document signatures and more. We like the home dashboard reminders that encourage managers to provide feedback about their team members. Keeping open-communication features like these at the top of the dashboard will help ensure your team leaders and HR admins are making the time to understand how team members are succeeding and where they may need help growing within their roles or working with their peers.

Key TakeawayKey takeaway: The dashboard offers intuitive navigation, notifications, and reminders, making it easy to stay on top of pending tasks.

The bottom of the dashboard includes customizable reporting graphics, key company links and training resources.

The bottom of the home admin dashboard displays a wealth of custom report data on your employees, including headcount, employment status, department, division and location. We really like how your most-run reports auto-populate in this section, giving you and your HR admins intuitive modifying abilities to increase efficiency in your day-to-day tasks.

One of the standout features here is Employee Satisfaction with eNPS (Employee Net Promoter Score). With regular surveys to learn reliable trends, you get easy-to-understand, actionable insights into your employees' satisfaction, which you can use to increase productivity, reduce turnover, and boost your company's reputation.

The Employee Satisfaction (or eNPS) feature helps you measure employee morale. You can also see the top five things people like about working for your company as well as their top five dislikes.

Features

Performance management A three-piece approach to evaluating and improving performance in your organization
Employee satisfaction (eNPS) Tools to reduce turnover costs, increase productivity and improve your company reputation
Open API A simple matter of finding the right developer to build custom integrations
Marketplace Free and paid integrations with popular tools like Slack and benefits providers
Onboarding An effective program to retain new hires and keep them engaged

Performance Management

BambooHR's three-pronged approach to evaluating an employee's performance consists of manager assessments and self-assessments, peer feedback, and goals to provide a complete perspective of how the employee is doing. It asks questions designed to improve performance, not just determine if someone is ready for a raise. You can choose for these review cycles to run annually, semiannually or quarterly. Tracking and measurement of employees' performance and goals with built-in analytics provide managers and executives actionable insights for individuals and the company as a whole.

BambooHR's performance analysis tool helps you understand individual employees' attitudes about your company and where you might be falling short, especially concerning key players on your team.

 

Employee Satisfaction (eNPS)

Regular internal surveys with anonymous submissions are necessary to improve company culture, but digesting that information can be time-consuming. This feature assigns you an Employee Net Promoter Score based on a series of quick questions your team has answered. The software scans the responses for keyword analytics before grouping them into positive, neutral or negative feedback. You can see trends in your results and filter by age, employment status, length of service, and location for each of your departments or divisions. Over time, it's much easier to identify trends in your employee satisfaction that you can use to reduce turnover, increase productivity and improve your company's reputation.

Open API

BambooHR uses a RESTful API that can be used to modify employee data and generate reports in multiple formats. The open API makes it easy for your hired developers to integrate other applications with your account to share data seamlessly across your systems.

Marketplace

You can find a solid list of free and paid apps and integrations through the BambooHR Marketplace for hiring and onboarding, people and culture, compensation and benefits, and generally building your business. You get free access to Google Single Sign-On, Indeed, Glassdoor, SAML, Gifted and Truwork. This is also the place to find solutions for benefits administration and retirement accounts.

Onboarding

BambooHR's structured process ramps up new hires quickly and keeps them engaged. You can easily modify your onboarding checklist and set due dates that trigger automatic reminders. The customizable new-hire packet lets you handle all of the normal paperwork quickly with e-signature capability. This platform gives you everything you need to make sure your newest team members hit the ground running on their first day.

Setup

You can expect to receive a great deal of assistance implementing your new BambooHR account. Once you sign up for a plan, BambooHR will assign a dedicated HR project manager as part of your implementation team to guide you through each step of the setup process and customize your account to suit your company's needs.

Your project manager can help you define all of the correct permission levels across your enterprise, configure any important workflows and approval processes, customize employee onboarding information, and implement anything else you need to get your HR department up and running smoothly. Organizing your HR account the right way from day one will save you significant time and frustration down the road, and BambooHR will make sure you're ready for success.

Customer Service

Customer service is available for all package subscribers by email on weekdays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (MT). Telephone support is available for Advantage plan subscribers on weekdays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (MT). BambooHR also has a vast library of self-help articles, interactive guides, and customer success webinars on its website to answer the most common questions related to its software and settings.

Drawbacks

The lack of transparent pricing means you will have to devote some time and effort just to discover if BambooHR is a viable option for your business; you have to call the company and discuss your needs to get even just a ballpark price. Without published price estimates, it's difficult to make an apples-to-apples comparison between service providers – and adding new features down the road could significantly increase your monthly cost. On the plus side, companies without set prices may allow you to negotiate a better deal if you speak to a sales agent at the end of the month or quarter.

There's no direct option to manage your employee benefits, such as health insurance or retirement plans, through BambooHR. However, the platform can track your benefits. BambooHR has a large app marketplace with full integrations for benefits administration through Maxwell Health, PlanSource, BeneTrac and Effortless Admin. It has similar integrations for financial services, including 401(k) and retirement benefits, through Human Interest and LoanBenefits – but as some existing customers have pointed out, all of these additional piecemeal features can make the cost of your overall HR service skyrocket fairly quickly.

Summary

Who we recommend BambooHR for:

  • Any business looking for a people-focused, general HR platform with a strong emphasis on employee performance
  • Small and midsize businesses that want to improve their company culture through a deep understanding of the people working there – their feelings, desires, and where they need the most help to grow and succeed
  • Any business that wants to assemble a highly customizable HR platform

Who we DON'T recommend BambooHR for:

  • Small and midsize businesses looking for a straightforward all-in-one HR service to handle onboarding, employee benefits, payroll taxes, and compliance all through one subscription plan
  • Business owners who like to see transparent pricing when comparing service providers and do not want to engage with a sales agent to learn more about standard service packages or add-on features and integrations

Image Credit: fizkes / Getty Images
BambooHR

BambooHR

The Verdict

BambooHR is great for businesses looking for HR software with lots of add-on features, customization and third-party integrations. Its performance features are especially impressive, earning it our best pick for performance management in HR software.

Jeff Hale
Jeff Hale
Business News Daily Contributing Writer
Jeff Hale is a writer and editor based in San Diego with a background in business development and marketing. He has identified new market opportunities for Fortune 500 companies and developed communications strategies and digital branding for tech startups and small businesses. Jeff covers emerging technologies and business solutions with a focus on efficiency and growth. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California, Irvine, and an MBA from Chapman University.