Chances are, you’re already familiar with BambooHR. It’s a popular all-in-one human resources information system (HRIS), and for good reason. It’s easy to use and designed to address all the core areas of HR where software should do the heavy lifting. But, it’s not the only kid on the block.
To save you time, I’ve compiled a list of 10 BambooHR competitors and alternatives worth considering. Each system has its own niche where it has more to offer than BambooHR. Depending on your industry or your business needs, one of these systems may be a better fit for you.
Here’s what you can expect to find in this article:
- What is BambooHR and What is it Used For?
- Why Might You Choose a BambooHR Alternative?
- Key Features for a Viable BambooHR Competitor
- 10 Best BambooHR Competitors Compared
- Other Resources
What is BambooHR and What is it Used For?
BambooHR is a software as a service (Saas) HRIS system that’s designed to be a single source of employee data. Their platform aims to save businesses time and money by streamlining common HR processes and integrating all your data points into one system, making it fast and easy to update records and run reports on your data.
Their Essentials service level includes core HR features like employee data management, a paid-time-off (PTO) tracking system, an employee directory and org chart, and document storage. To unlock additional features like their applicant tracking system (ATS), onboarding and offboarding functions, and tools to measure employee wellness and eNPS (employee net promoter score), you need to scale up to their Advantage service level.
They also have a long list of add-on features, such as performance management and goal-setting tools, full payroll processing services, and tax filings that are compliant with US federal and state tax laws. Their primary market is small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) based in the US.
Why Might You Choose a BambooHR Alternative?
You need more robust candidate sourcing and recruiting tools
BambooHR does have an applicant tracking system (ATS) in its top-tier Advantage price level. But, user reviews describe their ATS as clunky, inflexible, and lacking a key ability to archive candidates once they’ve been disqualified for a role. The result is BambooHR ATS users end up scrolling through cluttered and confusing pipelines, wasting time, and getting frustrated. BambooHR also lacks designated candidate sourcing tools, and their mobile app for hiring is separate from their employee self-service app.
You’re looking for specific features that BambooHR doesn’t include
Every HRIS system has its niche, and while BambooHR is not a bad choice by any means, there are specific features that may benefit your organization greatly, which are not included in their platform. Here’s a list of additional features you may want to look elsewhere for:
- Culture building tools
- A learning management system
- Employee shift scheduling, shift management, and shift swapping tools
- Advanced recruiting tools (e.g., candidate sourcing, background checks, etc.)
- Advanced benefits management integration
- Advanced payroll management features (e.g., for international teams or contractors)
- Travel management and expense management features
- Compliance tracking features
- Device management and asset tracking features
- Advanced data analysis and reporting functionalities
You need more customizations and automations
While the simplicity of BambooHR’s software may work well for some, other organizations may get frustrated by the inability to customize and automate processes beyond the system’s pre-designed configuration options. Customer reviews from BambooHR users mention disappointment with the inability to customize reports, and a lack of response when requesting new platform features or advancements. For complex companies, it may just be too simple for its own good.
You need software that’s scalable to the enterprise level
BambooHR is designed to serve startups, and small-to-medium businesses, so it’s not an ideal choice for organizations with upwards of 100 staff or those with anticipated high growth. It is also primarily designed for the US market, which makes it a poor choice for multinational organizations, or those headquartered abroad.
Key Features for a Viable BambooHR Competitor
Employee data management as a single source of truth
This is so obvious, it almost goes without saying, but any good HRIS must make it easy to manage employee data efficiently, as a single source of truth. Not sure what that means? Here’s an example.
Say an employee has a new manager. A good HRIS system will allow you to update their manager in one place, which will carry the change forward to all other related areas of the system. A poorly design HRIS system may require you to update an employee’s manager in their profile, on the org chart, in their performance management module, in the timesheet system, expense approval module, etc.
Attendance and time-off management tools and calendars
Attendance and paid time off (PTO) tracking are crucial components of HR employee data management. The best systems have direct integrations with payroll modules (or other payroll systems) to simplify the tracking and payment process. As well, it’s always handy to have access to a company-wide or team-specific vacation calendar, so you can tell who’s away on any given date.
Employee onboarding tools
Onboarding new employees to your company is one area where the best HRIS systems shine. The top BambooHR competitors all have tools to automate the process by collecting employees’ personal information and preferences and directing them to key corporate policies or training documents they need to review. In this area, the more flexibility you have to customize your onboarding process for different types of employees (e.g., based on job role, department, location, technical level, etc.) the better.
HR analytics and reports
What’s the point of building a database of information, if you can’t run useful reports on the data? All the BambooHR competitors in this list have the ability to run reports and produce HR analytics – some with more sophisticated capabilities than others.
Employee self-service features
Employee self-service is important as it empowers employees to keep their own personal information up-to-date without relying heavily on HR staff. Self-service capabilities are typically limited to contact information, spouse and dependent details, direct deposit, and ideally, professional qualifications and training-related information too.
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10 Best BambooHR Competitors Compared
Below you’ll find a brief description of the top BambooHR competitors in the HRIS market. To help you find the best option for you, I’ve summarized their key features and analyzed what they have to offer that BambooHR doesn’t. I’ve also included details on software integrations, pricing, and a screenshot of each to give you a snapshot of their user interface.
Say “hi” to Bob, an HRIS platform designed to maximize the employee experience and link employees to your company culture. Sometimes referred to as Hibob, their system includes all the core features you’d expect of an HRIS system similar to BambooHR, including employee data management and HR analytics, benefits management capabilities, time and attendance tracking features, digitized onboarding and hiring tools including DocuSign capabilities, and customizable workflows and reports. You can also add more advanced features such as compensation management, a payroll hub, performance management, and people analytics, depending on your business needs.
Where HiBob differs from BambooHR is in their array of culture-building tools. This includes features like their dynamic people directory with a linked org chart, rich employee profiles that are searchable by other colleagues, and their Club View which sorts the staff directory by hobbies, superpowers, gender pronouns, or other custom categories tied back to your company culture. Hibob’s user interface is also carefully curated to provide employees with a social media-like feel to maximize their engagement with the company. This includes the ability to easily publish company-wide announcements, give shoutouts to other colleagues, and respond with emoji-based reactions to maintain a fun and positive vibe throughout the platform.
Another big point of differentiation between Hibob and BambooHR comes down to scalability and customization. Whereas BambooHR is intended for small-to-medium businesses, Hibob knows no limits and can scale up to support large teams of any size, including multiple locations. Hibob also supports holiday calendars and time-off policies for multiple countries, which makes it a natural great fit for multinational businesses needing an engaging and full-feature HRIS system.
Bob integrates with over 40 commonly used HR software applications, including many applicant tracking systems, Azure Active Directory, Google Suite, 360Learning, Jira, Microsoft Teams, Slack, Zapier, and others. They also have an iOS and Android mobile app too.
Pricing details for Bob are available upon request. You can request a free demo and free trial through their website too.
While technically an HRMS (human resources management system), Zoho People is a solid option to consider if you’re looking to streamline your core HR functions. Zoho’s platform has a deep list of features, including employee onboarding tools, time off management, employee database and digital file management, employee self-service features, payroll integration, and advanced HR analytics.
When compared against BambooHR, Zoho People outshines the former in terms of their more advanced employee scheduling, shift management, shift swapping and time tracking features. To ensure accurate employee monitoring and timesheet data, Zoho People has built-in geofencing capabilities that allows companies to mark geographic work locations using GPS points. This ensures employees can only check-in for work when they arrive in the work area, and not before. Another related feature is their People Kiosk with facial recognition capabilities that allows employees to check-in for work using a quick selfie, which is then verified by AI-technology. Due to the depth of these employee time and monitoring features, I see Zoho People as being a better fit for organizations with variable workforces, such as hourly, shift-based, field-based, or fully remote workforces.
Other areas where Zoho People has a leg up over BambooHR include their integrated learning management system (LMS) that streamlines internal training, their case management system for handling HR-related questions from staff, and their travel management module that helps to organize, manage and track all travel-related bookings and costs. Their built-in timesheet program also works well for service-based industries including consulting, as it can track billable hours separately from other time spent. As well, users at all of Zoho’s pricing levels will benefit from “Zia” – their AI chat bot which answers employee questions and can be accessed from any screen within their system.
Zoho People integrates with many common software applications, including Google Workspace and Google Analytics, Office 365, Slack, Zendesk, WordPress, Joomla, and payment gateways such as PayPal, WePay and WorldPay. In addition, Zoho has a whole suite of their own custom Zoho apps, including Zoho Analytics, Zoho Books, Zoho CRM, Zoho Directory, Zoho Expense, Zoho Invoice, Zoho Mail, Zoho Projects, Zoho Recruit, Zoho Sign, Zoho Vault, and Zoho Writer.
Pricing for Zoho People starts at $1.25 USD/employee/month for their Essential HR level, making it a very affordable option to consider. You can also request a free demo and a 30-day free trial through their website too.
It’s true that Zenefits and BambooHR do have a lot in common. Both systems have a good handle on employee data management, onboarding, and time-off tracking. As well, both systems have a long list of extra features that can be added on for an additional fee. The main difference is in the way each company has structured their packages. That means it’s extra important to know exactly which modules you’d need to make the best and most cost-effective decision. Several areas where Zenefits outshines BambooHR include their benefits management integration, their mobile app, and their level of customer support.
Zenefits includes a Health Insurance Marketplace, where you can review different group insurance plans to find the best option for your organization. Once you’re ready, you can request a quote through one of their certified brokers, who will also help you administer your plan—a service that’s included for no additional cost, no matter which pricing plan you choose.
The mobile app for Zenefits gives users access to all the same features they’d find in the web interface, whereas the BambooHR app is limited to time off requests, updating personal information, accessing the employee directory, or reviewing company-wide announcements. As well, Zenefits offers customer support via phone, email, or live chat whenever needed. In contrast, BambooHR’s customer support relies heavily on pre-recorded videos that don’t necessarily contain the answer you’re looking for.
Zenefits integrates with 45+ commonly used software systems including BetterWorks, Bonusly, Expensify, Google Suite, Office 365, Slack, Salesforce, Zapier, and many others.
Pricing for Zenefits is transparent, so you know exactly what you’re getting at each price level, which starts at $8 USD/employee/month. You can also request a free demo and a 14-day free trial through their website too.
Gusto’s scalable pricing and features make it a great all-in-one HR solution for small businesses with simple salary structures or complex international teams. Like BambooHR, their system includes hiring and onboarding tools, time and attendance tracking, and HR analytics. The key difference between both systems comes down to Gusto’s more advanced full-service payroll functionality, which is included even at their lowest pricing level (whereas it’s an additional add-on with BambooHR).
Gusto’s payroll module includes all the features you’d expect, such as unlimited payroll runs, automatic tax deductions, direct deposits and a direct sync between their time tracking module and payroll to reduce the possibility of errors. It’s also an excellent system for global workforces as it supports payments to international contractors in over 80 countries. To further support companies operating under a work-from-anywhere approach, Gusto has a handy device management tracking system that helps with inventory control, network access, and keeping your company data secure.
Gusto integrates with 135+ commonly used software solutions including Asana, Bonusly, ChartHop, DropBox, GitHub, Google Workspace, Microsoft 365, Sage Accounting, Salesforce, Shopify, Slack, Webex, Zipbooks, Zoom, and many others.
Pricing for Gusto starts at $6 USD/employee/month, plus a base fee of $39 USD/month. You can also request a free demo and a 30-day free trial through their website too. Also worth noting, new Gusto customers receive their first month of payroll services for free.
Like all the other HRIS systems in this list, Sage HR is well-designed to take care of all your core HR needs, including onboarding, employee record management, leave management, performance reviews, shift scheduling, timesheets, and reporting HR analytics. Their performance management module also includes modern features such as goals and OKRs (objectives and key results), 360 degree feedback, 1:1 meeting templates, employee surveys, and other feedback tools.
One area where Sage HR excels over BambooHR is their expense management module. Expense management is traditionally a very time-consuming process for both employees and accounting staff as it requires itemizing receipts, submitting expense claim reports, and requesting approval, often from multiple sources. Sage HR simplifies this process by automating the workflow via their mobile app. Employees who have business expenses can snap a photo of their receipt on their phone, then fill out a simple approval form and submit it directly to their designated expense manager. This saves a lot of time, and paper, since the entire approval process is digitized. In contrast, BambooHR does not currently include any expense tracking or management functionality to date.
Sage HR’s recruitment module also includes a more robust set of features than those available through BambooHR. With Sage HR, you can customize your pipeline stages and triggers, process an unlimited number of applicants through an unlimited number of pipelines, and also incorporate employee referrals. While BambooHR does offer an applicant tracking system in their highest price level, consumer research suggests that the design is rather clunky, with a major shortcoming in how the system sorts and saves applicants, resulting in cluttered pipelines full of disqualified candidates.
Sage HR integrates with G Suite and Slack, as well as Zapier, which opens the door to many additional custom software integrations. Sage HR also has an API and supports single sign-on.
Pricing for Sage HR is transparent and modular, ensuring you only spend money on the features you actually need. Pricing starts at $7 USD/employee/month for their core HR package, with many additional add-ons available for an extra monthly fee. A 30-day free trial can also be requested through their website too.
As the expression goes, “the Devil’s in the details,” and that is absolutely true for HR software too. What I mean by that is, the details are extremely important when picking an HRIS system. While you may love the idea of using a system like BambooHR, if you’re a Canadian organization, I highly recommend that you choose a program that’s specifically designed for Canadian businesses—like Rise. While BambooHR does have a lot to offer for small and medium-sized businesses, their system is designed primarily for US-based companies. This means Canadian clients who attempt to use it can expect a never-ending series of headaches and workarounds to make the system do what you actually need it to do. I have personally been in a similar situation before (using US-centric software in the Canadian context) and I’m telling you now, don’t do it!
Instead, Rise is a comprehensive and straightforward HRIS option for Canadian businesses that services the full suite of core HR functions including people management, payroll, recruiting, onboarding, time-off management, performance management, and self-service mobile app access. As well, regardless of whichever plan you choose, additional add-ons are also available for benefits administration, scheduling, and time-tracking too.
Aside from the Canadian vs. US payroll compliance issues, there are some other areas where Rise’s platform outweighs BambooHR as well. Rise offers a lot of flexibility for customizations in their scheduling and time tracking capabilities, including drag-and-drop schedule creation, holiday customizations, the ability to add black-out periods and tools to develop straightforward recurring shift patterns. BambooHR does offer some scheduling features, but they are less robust, and focused more on clocking in and out.
Rise also has excellent benefits management features, including employee self-enrollment, paperless administration, and automated premium management with real-time payroll integration, meaning no more manually entering benefit costs into payroll every time they change. On top of that, another added bonus is the fact that their benefits management module can be unlocked for free for any Canadian companies using Sun Life as their benefits provider.
Another unique feature that really stands out with Rise is their partnership with Wealthsimple. Employees using Rise are able to file their personal taxes for free using Wealthsimple Tax. As a bonus, for every tax return filed, Rise will donate a meal to someone in need through Second Harvest.
Pricing for Rise starts at $6 CAD/employee/month. You can also request a free demo and a 90-day free trial of their full-feature model through their website too.
Since Sapling is technically an HCM (human capital management) platform, their main focus is on improving people-centric processes like onboarding and offboarding, and enhancing internal communication through features like intranet services, shared calendars, and mobile app accessibility. Their HR platform also includes add-ons for other core HR functions such as dynamic org charts, track & approve chains, time off tracking, and employee surveys to monitor your level of employee engagement.
Since user reviews of BambooHR point to a lack of flexibility and customization options throughout their platform, Sapling is a better fit for companies looking to automate and customize their routine processes. Sapling allows users to simplify common tasks through auto-assigned workflows, email scheduling, and customizable alerts, to standardize the employee experience while maximizing efficiency. This is a valuable feature for organizations with distributed teams, as it helps HR both regulate and customize processes across locations, departments or types of employees, as needed. Using the onboarding process as an example, the onboarding requirements for a frontline sales associate will look very different than the requirements for a senior manager or a lead engineer. Rather than reinventing the wheel for each new hire, you can build up your automated processes for each segment of your workforce, then let them roll out automatically.
Some additional aspects that may lead you to choose Sapling over BambooHR include Sapling’s extensive forms library, their ability to incorporate background checks into the hiring process, and their deep integration with Google Suite—all of which are missing in BambooHR. As well, Sapling’s support team is available 24/7 to assist you, whereas BambooHR’s email support has restricted hours and their telephone support is only available in their highest paid service level.
Sapling integrates with 50+ leading HR, IT and productivity systems including 15Five, ADP, ChartHop, Greenhouse, JazzHR, Jira, Kallidus, Lattice, Lessonly, Lever, LinkedIn, Okta, OneLogin, Paylocity, Slack, Workday, Zapier, and many others.
To take advantage of their full range of HRIS features, pricing for Sapling starts at $6.99 USD/employee/month for their People Ops Platform. However, they do offer a cheaper alternative if all you need to access are their onboarding features. You can also request a free demo through their website too.
intelliHR’s strategic and sophisticated HR management software covers core HR data processes, performance management, employee engagement and wellbeing, HR analytics, compliance, employee retention, team management and talent management. To facilitate a positive employee experience, their platform offers dynamic employee profiles, a useful staff directory, and an org chart that updates in real-time as employees come and go. Their self-service employee dashboard also allows employees to read policies, fill out forms, or request feedback in just a click.
While intelliHR is quite similar to BambooHR in many of their features, intelliHR has more to offer in terms of their strategic HR tools for compliance and advanced data analysis. intelliHR is a great choice for industries with a heavy focus on training and compliance, and I say that knowing how much work goes into an audit prep process after participating in 9 years of audits under an ISO 9001 designation.
intelliHR’s dashboard provides a quick overview of who is or isn’t compliant at any given time, to help your organization address any gaps and become audit-proof as soon as possible. Their system can track compliance-related items such as mandatory training certifications, qualifications or licenses and automate follow-up emails to ensure no items expire unexpectedly. You can also run audit reports on all your data at any time, making it easy to prove your compliance status on short notice.
The data visualization tools within intelliHR are also deeper than with BambooHR. Their advanced employee analytics include feedback tools to measure team sentiment, employee satisfaction, eNPS (employee net promoter score), and keyword trends in a visual word cloud format. Beyond that, intelliHR also tracks business performance analytics and workforce management analytics like business sentiment, attrition analysis, survival analysis, recruitment spend, training investment and many other items.
intelliHR integrates with 45+ other software tools including Google Suite, Microsoft Outlook, Slack, DocuSign, etrainu, Gol, ADP, WorkJam, DataPay, Xero, Zapier, and others.
Pricing for intelliHR starts at $3.25 USD/employee/month. You can also request a free demo and a 30-day free trial through their website too.
UKG Pro is a modern HCM (human capital management) platform that manages people processes, payroll, recruiting, onboarding, learning and development, and analytics. Their system also includes advanced features to gauge employee satisfaction like their AI-powered sentiment analysis tool called Employee Voice. User reviews give high marks to their mobile app and self-service employee functions, and frequently mention their good quality customer service. As well, new clients will appreciate having a dedicated executive relationship manager to ensure implementation of their system is smooth.
Despite similarities between UKG Pro and BambooHR in terms of the modules they cover, the main difference is that UKG Pro is geared towards medium-sized businesses all the way up to enterprise-level clients, whereas BambooHR is targeting startups and small-to-medium businesses (SMBs).
At the specific module level, UKG Pro includes a learning management system that supports knowledge sharing, skill development, and social collaboration to make learning new tasks fun and engaging. Within their system it’s easy to create a branded training academy that automatically tracks employee progress through a powerful dashboard. You can also configure notifications to ensure all your training and compliance deadlines are met too.
One other area where UKG Pro has stronger features than BambooHR is within their applicant tracking system. While BambooHR does have an ATS, it does not include the ability to schedule interviews, automatically parse candidate resumes, or post candidate-facing statuses for positions, whereas UKG Pro does. This makes UKG Pro a more obvious candidate for companies with high volume recruiting on their agenda.
UKG Pro also supports succession planning, and company-wide goals and OKRs (objectives and key results) in a more detailed capacity than BambooHR.
Pricing details for UKG Pro are available upon request. You can also request a free demo through their website too.
Freshteam is a SaaS HRMS (human resource management system) designed to support hiring, onboarding, time-off tracking, employee data management, and other HR workflows like building custom reports. It’s a great choice for businesses with a heavy sales and marketing focus since Freshteam works seamlessly with other Freshworks products such as Freshdesk (customer support software), Freshsales (sales/lead generation software), Freshmarketer (multichannel marketing software), and Freshservice (IT service management software).
When stacked up against BambooHR, Freshteam scores higher in their candidate sourcing and applicant tracking tools. While BambooHR does have an ATS (in their highest paid service level), Freshteam’s recruitment tools are available even in their freemium package. Their software supports candidate sourcing from multiple sources (job boards, employee referrals, emails and social media), plus the ability to schedule interviews and roll out offers right from within the platform. As well, they’ve built in helpful automations for key tasks like thank you emails or reference check reminders. On top of all that, they also support candidate skills assessments and kanban-style boards for applicant tracking, plus detailed talent pool analytics so you can see where your recruitment efforts are hitting the mark, or falling short.
Freshteam integrates with Adzuna, LinkedIn, Indeed, ZipRecruiter, Office 365 Calendar, Google Calendar, Google Meet, Google Hangouts, HackerRank, HackerEarth, Codility and ClassMarker.
Freshteam’s affordable pricing also stands out against BambooHR since the software is free to use for startups with up to 50 employees. For organizations with more staff, Freshteam’s pricing starts at $1.20/employee/month plus a $71 USD flat fee per month. You can also request a free demo or a 21-day free trial through their website too.
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BambooHR Competitors Compared Summary
Free demo and free trial
|Pricing upon request||Check out Hibob|
30 days free trial
|From $1.25 USD/employee/month for their Essential HR level||Check out Zoho People|
14 days free trial
|From $8 USD/employee/month||Check out Zenefits|
30 days free trial
|From $6 USD/employee/month||Check out Gusto|
30 days free trial
|From $7 USD/employee/month||Check out Sage HR|
90 days free trial
|From $6 CAD/employee/month||Check out Rise|
|From $6.99 USD/employee/month||Check out Sapling|
30 days free trial
|From $3.25 USD/employee/month||Check out intelliHR|
|Pricing upon request||Check out UKG Pro|
21 days free trial
|From $1.20/employee/month||Visit Website|
I hope these software comparisons helped you gain some clarity on the best HRIS system for you—whether it turns out to be BambooHR or not.
Looking for something specifically designed for a startup or small business? We also have lists covering the best HRIS systems for small businesses as well as the best HRMS software for small businesses too.
Wondering what the difference is between an HRIS, HRMS and HCM system? We’ve got you covered there too! Take a look at this: HR Software: What it Costs and How to Decide What’s Best For Your Company, which includes detailed explanations for each system type.
Lastly, I also recommend signing up for our People Managing People newsletter to stay on top of the latest industry trends in thought leadership and organizational development.
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