2023 BambooHR Review: Pricing, Features, and Pros & Cons
This article is part of a larger series on Payroll Services.
BambooHR is a popular and highly customizable human resources (HR) software ideal for small to midsize businesses. It has features to track applicants, manage employee information, monitor paid time off (PTO) requests, measure staff engagement, and conduct performance analysis. It is one of our recommended HRIS for small businesses, scoring 3.85 out of 5 in that evaluation. Before purchasing, you can check out BambooHR’s seven-day free trial to learn more about its features.
- Easy to use with customization options
- Performance management tools
- Centralized employee database
- More than 50 integration options with open application programming interfaces (APIs)
- Pricing isn’t transparent
- Access to its TRAXPayroll integration requires an additional fee
- Time tracking and performance management tools are paid add-ons
- Phone support, advanced workflows, and custom access levels are available only in the highest tier
- Pricing: Custom; 7-day free trial
- Features: Strong reporting tools, user-friendly interface, and a wide array of integration partners
- Implementation time:
- Around 4–6 weeks, depending on the number of employees
- Awards: Finalist for various software awards given by review websites, such as G2, Software Advice, and TrustRadius
What We Recommend BambooHR For
With BambooHR, you get a user-friendly platform and suite of cloud-based solutions for managing day-to-day HR processes—from tracking applicants to monitoring performance appraisals. Its HR management module lets you capture and store employee information and provides access levels and workflows for approving requests, such as paid time off (PTO), employee information changes, and customer service.
In short, BambooHR is best for:
- Small businesses (SMBs) that need an all-in-one, easy-to-use HR software: One of our best HR software for small businesses, it provides companies with a simple and affordable platform to manage employee HR processes. There are many canned reports you can run so that you don’t have to create from scratch. It also has a range of HR services, including payroll, onboarding, recruitment, time tracking, and performance appraisals.
- Office managers or executive assistants handling HR and payroll: It streamlines HR processes and integrates the different systems it offers, so you don’t have to enter the same data twice. It also gives each employee access to its mobile app, allowing them to view their employee information without going through you.
- Companies that need supplemental HR tools: BambooHR integrates with more than 50 third-party applications, most of which are HR solutions like recruitment, time tracking, training, and compensation systems. It also connects with communication and identity management tools, such as Slack, Idaptive, OneLogin, and Okta. In addition, it has an open API.
- HR managers who primarily work via mobile: Not all employee management systems come with a mobile app, but BambooHR does and earns a spot in our best HR app guide. The mobile app allows users to access the company calendar, track employee progress, approve time off requests, and view the employee directory. Both managers and employees can use the mobile app to ensure communication and access to essential information anywhere.
When BambooHR Would Not Be a Good Fit
- Mom-and-pop companies looking for payroll software: You have to pay additional fees to access its payroll tool, which isn’t proprietary but rather from partner TRAXPayroll. If payroll is your main concern, consider using one of the partners found in our best payroll software buyer’s guide.
- Businesses with contractors, freelancers, and global or remote workers: BambooHR doesn’t have tools to simplify working with contractors, freelancers, or temporary employees. Also, although BambooHR is excellent for companies with US and―more recently―Canadian employees, it’s not designed to cover global employee management needs. In this case, consider our best international payroll buyer’s guide.
- Startups looking for a free HR tool: BambooHR doesn’t offer a free plan. Therefore, you may instead want to consider one of our free HR software options.
Are you looking for something else? Check out our guide to the best payroll services for small businesses if payroll is your primary need.
Top BambooHR Alternatives
Businesses with a remote or global workforce
Startups (with up to five employees) that want basic, free-to-use HR tools
Starting at $17 per month plus $4 per employee/contractor
$35 base fee plus $8 per employee per month (for required core employee management module)
Free (up to five employees); Plans ranging from $1.50 to $5 per user per month (after five employees)
BambooHR has two plans: Essentials and Advantage. However, the software lost points as pricing details for these plans aren’t available on its website—you have to contact the provider to discuss your business’ requirements and request a quote. Additionally, BambooHR does not offer a free setup.
The Essentials plan has basic HR features, including benefit tracking, employee records, and time off management. The Advantage plan has additional hiring tools like onboarding and training tracking. It also has more advanced features like company branding and high-level reporting.
HR Information System (HRIS), Document Storage, and PTO Management
Employee Directory and Org Chart
Applicant Tracking and Onboarding
Software Integrations and Company Branding
Workflows and Approvals
Email, phone, and chat support
BambooHR charges per employee—the more employees you have, the lower the pricing. We were quoted the following for the Advantage plan:
- Businesses with 20 employees: $8.75 per employee monthly
- Businesses with 30 employees: $8.37 per employee monthly
- Businesses with 200+ employees: $5.59 per employee monthly
For BambooHR’s add-on tools, we were quoted the following:
- Performance Management Module: $5.25 per employee monthly
- Time Tracking Tool: $3 per employee monthly
- TRAXPayroll solution: $75 plus $4.05 per employee monthly
- Payroll Implementation: $241.25 (one-time fee)
- “QuickStart Training” for new clients: $299 (one-time fee)
With BambooHR’s suite of HR solutions, streamline and automate hiring, onboarding, and performance management processes. Provide employees with self-service tools for updating personal information and tracking attendance-related requests. It lacks in this category because it does not have experts on staff to assist with compliance issues. It only generates state new hire reporting forms and doesn’t file them for you.
Let’s look at some of BambooHR’s important features:
BambooHR helps automate and simplify employee management with features such as employee records, workflows, reporting, and analytics. With the software, you can access a secure and centralized database that allows HR teams to manage employee data efficiently.
Given that it integrates with BambooHR’s other modules, including its marketplace of third-party partner software, you need only to manage one database in which all employee information updates are shared across all solutions.
BambooHR also has an applicant tracking system, which helps everyone involved in the recruitment process to stay in the loop with its collaboration tools. The software centralizes employee hiring and tracking systems, allowing users access to data along each step of the pipeline. BambooHR helps save time by allowing you to streamline applicant tracking and hiring.
When onboarding new hires, you’ll have to deal with compliance, checklists, and paperwork, which can be simplified with BambooHR. Its preboarding and onboarding solutions let users set up welcome emails and to-do checklists for new hires and enable the digital signing of electronic documents.
Onboarding can vary across industries, and BambooHR allows you to customize checklists, processes, and permissions as your company requires. Use its welcome templates and customize these for different jobs or departments.
BambooHR has PTO, time tracking, and payroll tools, which lets you automate and simplify paying employees.
Available as a paid add-on, BambooHR’s time tracking tool captures employee clock-ins/outs, displays timesheets, and calculates regular working and overtime hours for payroll reporting. It also has project-tracking capabilities to help you log and monitor working hours for specific clients and tasks.
With its time-off management solution, your employees may easily file and monitor leave requests online. HR administrators can also set up several PTO types in BambooHR, from standard leaves, such as vacation and sick leaves, to unlimited PTO for a single team to custom time-off policies for specific individuals.
In addition, BambooHR has a “Who’s Out Calendar” to see employees on PTO easily. This also allows managers to ensure their departments are adequately staffed during holidays.
Deliver employee benefits while accounting for rank, seniority, and time schedules. The software can help you administer benefits together with the payroll. You may also set benefit administration in advance. For instance, schedule the benefits delivery for an employee who’s a month or two away from getting a specific benefit so they can receive it on time.
The software has a payroll processing and administration partner system known as TRAXPayroll, which allows users to automate payroll. Designed to process the salaries of US-based employees, TRAXPayroll comes with unlimited pay runs, digital paystubs, and comprehensive payroll reporting. It also offers full-service payroll tax filing for federal, local, and state taxes.
What’s also great about this integration is that you don’t have to manage employee data for two separate systems. TRAXPayroll syncs automatically with BambooHR, allowing it to get essential payroll information, such as personal staff data, direct deposit bank details, wages, and time in/out information, seamlessly.
BambooHR’s performance management add-on includes online tools for creating and tracking employee work goals. It comes with automated reminders, notifications, and built-in reporting, such as talent management data and goals status reports.
Plan employee assessments using its review cycle questionnaires. With it, you can have 30-, 60-, or 90-day check-ins. Depending on your priorities, you can skip or reschedule assessments.
BambooHR’s employee satisfaction system combines Net Promoter Scores and intelligent feedback analysis methods. Aside from letting HR professionals measure staff engagement and better understand workforce issues, this can help you create employee programs to address problem areas.
Employees can log in to BambooHR and answer questions related to their managers and work at set intervals across the year. Employees and managers can also collaborate on goals, which can be set with due dates. The software tracks completion percentage and offers a commenting function.
With its employee/manager self-service tool, your employees can view the company calendar, access the staff directory, check their personal information, file PTO requests, and approve requests online.
For your mobile employees, BambooHR has apps for iOS and Android devices that have the same functionalities as its self-service tool. HR teams can even send company-wide communications through the provider’s mobile apps.
When it comes to reporting and analytics, you can generate different kinds of reports, including PTO usage, equal employment opportunity (EEO) reports, and employee turnover. BambooHR’s reports are easy to organize and read, which HR managers can use to make informed decisions.
BambooHR fell short of receiving a perfect score in this category due to the fact that you have to pay extra for customization. However, should you get the Advantage plan, you can create custom templates and reports for more detailed analysis.
BambooHR is easy to use and comes with a wide range of cloud-based solutions, including self-service tools, which allow you to manage essential HR processes more efficiently. With its intuitive and all-in-one HR platform, your HR team can spend more time on strategic business-related projects and less time handling day-to-day tasks.
The following make BambooHR easy to navigate:
- Intuitive interface
- Employee self-service and mobile apps
- More than 50 integration options
- Standard and customizable workflows
- Library of webinars and how-to guides
The platform also comes with basic customization options. Aside from adding your company’s branding elements, BambooHR lets you create custom workflows and user access levels. Note, however, that these options are available only with the Advantage plan.
What’s also great about BambooHR is its marketplace of third-party partner systems, which consist mostly of HR-related solutions. With more than 50 integration options, BambooHR can help you manage your employees well. For reference, here are some of its partner software:
- Applicant tracking systems: Greenhouse, Workable, BreezyHR, ApplicantPro, JazzHR, Lever, Jobvite, LinkedIn Talent Hub, and SmartRecruiters
- Assessment tools: Criteria Corp, imocha, and Qualified
- Background check solutions: GoodHire, Checkr, Universal Background Screening, and Backgrounds Online
- Job board sites: Glassdoor and Indeed
- Video interviewing tool: Jobma
- Learning and training software: Litmos, Northpass, TalentLMS, Absorb, Travitor, and Traliant
- Performance management systems: Lattice, 15Five, Engagedly, 7Geese, GoalSpan, Primalogik, PerformYard, and PerformancePRO
- Recognition and reward tools: Bonusly, Gifted, Kudos, Applauz, Kazoo Recognition, and Reward Gateway
- Benefits administration solutions: Maxwell Health, Effortless Admin, PlanSource, and Benetrac
- Compensation software: Payfactors and PayScale
- Payroll systems: TRAXPayroll, Blue Marble Global Payroll, and CloudPay
- Time tracking and scheduling tools: Humanity, SwipeClock, Boomr, ClickTime, Deputy, MakeShift, stratustime, and Somroli
- Other business software: Slack, Okta, OneLogin, Idaptive, Zapier, OrgChart Now, Pingboard, and Orginio
In our expert review of BambooHR, its software ranks well above average in terms of functionality and features, earning it a score of 4.5 out of 5. While the cost is not transparent, according to our quote, it is affordable for SMBs.
The variety of BambooHR’s HR and HRIS features, including tax processing, onboarding, time tracking, and robust applicant tracking system, makes it ideal for small businesses that do not have the manpower to take on these tasks in-house. Additionally, with its Advantage tier, users can customize reporting to collect essential information and data that can help their businesses succeed.
Its perfect score shows BambooHR is very popular among its users. Below is a chart of what users like and dislike about the software.
|Users Like||Users Don’t Like|
|Intuitive platform||Integration choices and open API need to be improved|
|Simple to set up; implementation support includes extensive training for new clients||Customization options are not robust|
|Feature-rich software with all of the essential HR tools that SMBs need|
Many BambooHR users are happy with its intuitive and simple-to-use interface. They also like having access to several HR solutions—from PTO tracking to employee information management and self-service tools. Meanwhile, some reviewers commented that its integration options aren’t robust. Some even wished it offered more customization options for its performance management module and reporting tools.
At the time of publication, BambooHR reviews earned the following scores on popular user review sites:
- Capterra: 4.6 out of 5 based on more than 2,200 reviews
- G2: 4.5 out of 5 based on 1,000-plus reviews
If you’re not sure BambooHR is right for you, see how it compares with our best HRIS software for small businesses.
How We Evaluated BambooHR
When we evaluate HR software for small businesses, we look at features and ease of use. Additionally, we check the pricing, popularity among users, and functionality of its reporting capabilities.
BambooHR met most of our requirements, scoring 3.5 out of 5 or higher in the majority of the categories evaluated. Where it fell short was in some of its HR features, such as the lack of experts on staff to assist with compliance issues and its limited insurance options in all 50 states. Additionally, BambooHR does not offer a professional employer organization (PEO) option, which, while not always affordable, can be an alternative option for SMBs.
Scroll through the tabs below to learn more about how we evaluated BambooHR:
20% of Overall Score
Pricing is important to SMBs. Because of this, we evaluated the software based on price transparency, estimated monthly cost, and multiple plan options.
40% of Overall Score
This score covered the basics for HR & HRIS features, including online onboarding with forms, an employee database, benefits, and HR functions in general. Extra points were awarded for advanced HR features like compensation management, learning and development, and performance management.
5% of Overall Score
We evaluated the software on its ability to provide in-house reporting as well as the customization of existing reports and the option to create new reports.
15% of Overall Score
HR software should be easy to set up, customizable, and integrate well with third-party software. We considered interface, customer support, online guides, integration, and dedicated help when compiling this score.
15% of Overall Score
In this criterion, we assessed whether the software’s ease of use, pricing, and the width and depth of its HR and HRIS tools are ideal for SMBs.
5% of Overall Score
We reviewed actual customer engagement with the software to determine if it ranked best among users. We evaluated the scores provided on third-party review sites such as G2 and Capterra.
Small and midsize businesses that want an integrated cloud-based HR platform should consider BambooHR. Aside from its wide range of HR tools, it has a user-friendly platform that can help streamline and automate HR tasks. Its monthly fees, based on the quote we received, are also reasonable. However, you need to pay extra if you want payroll, time tracking, and performance management tools.
If you want to learn more about BambooHR’s features, sign up for a free trial—no credit card is required.