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There are so many different BambooHR competitors that making a shortlist of the best can be tricky. You want to find a new platform to streamline various HR functions such as employee data management, hiring, onboarding, time-off tracking, and performance management—and now need the right tool for your comapny and team. In this post, I share from my personal experience as an HR specialist testing many different BambooHR alternatives, and share my picks of the best BambooHR competitors overall.

Here’s what you can expect to find in this article:

What Is BambooHR?

BambooHR is a cloud-based Human Resources Information System (HRIS) designed primarily for small to medium-sized businesses. It offers a range of HR functions including employee information management, recruitment and onboarding, performance management, time-off tracking, and payroll processing.

BambooHR focuses on simplifying HR processes, improving data organization, and enhancing employee management. BambooHR's user-friendly interface and customizable features allow businesses to tailor the system to their specific needs, facilitating efficient HR management and helping to streamline administrative tasks, thereby improving overall HR efficiency and employee experience.

10 Best BambooHR Competitors Compared

Below you’ll find a brief description of the top 10 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.

Best free BambooHR alternative for candidate sourcing and applicant tracking

  • 21-day free trial
  • From $1.20/user/month + $71/month base fee
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Rating: 4.6/5

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.

Best BambooHR alternative for organizations with variable workforces

  • 30-day free trial
  • From $1.50/user/month
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Rating: 4.3/5

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.

Best BambooHR alternative for full-service payroll and device management

  • 30-day free trial
  • from $40/month plus $6/staff member
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Rating: 4.3/5

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 $40 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.

Best BambooHR alternative for creating customizable workflows and automating processes

  • Free demo available
  • Pricing upon request
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Rating: 4.3/5

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.

Best BambooHR alternative for benefits management and mobile access

  • 14-day free trial
  • From $10/user/month
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Rating: 4.1/5

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.

Best for streamlining HR processes with user-friendly, comprehensive solutions

  • Free demo available
  • Pricing upon request
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Rating: 4/5

Workday is cloud-based software that offers a wide range of tools for human resources, finance, and planning. It's designed to help businesses manage their workforce, financials, and overall performance. Workday is a popular choice for companies looking for a comprehensive solution to manage their HR and finance needs, and it's often considered one of the top BambooHR competitors and alternatives.

I chose Workday as one of the best BambooHR competitors and alternatives because it offers a robust set of features that cater to businesses of all sizes. Workday's comprehensive suite of tools makes it a good choice for companies looking for an all-in-one solution to manage their HR and finance needs. Additionally, Workday's user-friendly interface and customizable dashboards make it easy for users to navigate and find the information they need quickly.

Workday offers several features that make it stand out from other BambooHR competitors and alternatives. Some of these standout features include:

Unified HR and Finance: Workday combines HR and finance tools in one platform, allowing businesses to manage their workforce and financials seamlessly.

Adaptive Planning: Workday's planning tools help businesses create accurate budgets, forecasts, and reports, making it easier to plan for the future and make data-driven decisions.

Talent Management: Workday's talent management tools help businesses attract, retain, and develop top talent, ensuring they have the right people in the right roles.

Advanced Analytics: Workday's analytics tools provide businesses with real-time insights and data-driven recommendations, helping them make informed decisions and improve overall performance.

Global Compliance: Workday's global compliance features help businesses stay up-to-date with changing regulations and requirements, reducing the risk of non-compliance.

Integrations include ADP, BetterUp, DocuSign, Humanity, HireRight, LinkedIn Recruiter, Okta, Salesforce, Slack, Workhuman, and others.

Pricing is available upon request, and they offer a free demo.

Best performance management in an all-in-one HR tool

  • Free demo available
  • Pricing upon request
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Rating: 3.9/5

Namely is cloud-based human resources (HR) software that aims to simplify and streamline HR processes for mid-sized companies. It offers a wide range of features, including payroll, benefits administration, talent management, and time tracking, all in one platform. Namely is designed to be user-friendly and customizable, allowing businesses to tailor the software to their specific needs.

I chose Namely as one of the best BambooHR competitors and alternatives because it offers a comprehensive suite of HR tools that cater to the unique needs of mid-sized businesses. While BambooHR is a great option for small businesses, Namely's focus on mid-sized companies means it can handle more complex HR processes and requirements. Plus, its user-friendly interface and customization options make it easy for HR teams to manage their tasks efficiently.

There are several features that make Namely stand out from other HR tools in the market. First, its payroll system is robust and easy to use, allowing HR teams to process payroll quickly and accurately. It also offers a benefits administration module that simplifies the process of managing employee benefits, such as health insurance and retirement plans.

Another standout feature is Namely's talent management module, which includes performance management, goal setting, and employee engagement tools. This helps businesses keep track of employee performance and ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals. Additionally, Namely's time and attendance tracking feature makes it easy for employees to clock in and out, request time off, and view their schedules.

Namely offers a wide range of integrations with other popular business tools, making it easy for businesses to connect their HR processes with other aspects of their operations. Some of the integrations available include Bonusly, Culture Amp, Equifax, Greenhouse, Lattice, Lever, LinkedIn Talent Hub, NetSuite, Slack, Small Improvements, Workable, Worktango, and 15Five. Zapier can also be connected to configure additional integrations.

Pricing is available upon request, and they offer a free demo.

Best BambooHR alternative for deepening company culture and employee engagement

  • Free demo available
  • Pricing upon request
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Rating: 4.5/5

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.

Best BambooHR alternative for learning management and high-volume recruiting

  • Free demo available
  • Pricing upon request

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.

Best BambooHR alternative for managing compliance and advanced data analysis

  • Free demo available
  • From $4.50-$11.70/employee/month
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Rating: 4.8/5

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.

BambooHR Competitors Compared Summary

Tools Price
Freshteam From $1.20/user/month + $71/month base fee
Zoho People From $1.50/user/month
Gusto from $40/month plus $6/staff member
Kallidus Sapling Pricing upon request
Zenefits From $10/user/month
Workday Pricing upon request
Namely Pricing upon request
bob Pricing upon request
UKG Pro Pricing upon request
IntelliHR From $4.50-$11.70/employee/month
Preview Image - <h2 class="c-block__title b-summary-table__title c-listicle__title h3" > Compare Software Specs Side by Side</h2>

Compare Software Specs Side by Side

Use our comparison chart to review and evaluate software specs side-by-side.

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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:

  1. Culture building tools
  2. A learning management system
  3. Employee shift scheduling, shift management, and shift swapping tools
  4. Advanced recruiting tools (e.g., candidate sourcing, background checks, etc.)
  5. Advanced benefits management integration
  6. Advanced payroll management features (e.g., for international teams or contractors)
  7. Travel management and expense management features
  8. Compliance tracking features
  9. Device management and asset tracking features
  10. Advanced data analysis and reporting functionalities 

If you find BambooHR's features limiting and are looking for more customization options, our in-depth analysis of HR software might offer you the alternatives you need

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. 

Related Read: Enterprise Performance Management: Everything You Need To Know

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.  

Other Resources

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. 

Still interested in additional options? Check out our list of the best HRIS systems on the market, plus our best HCM software list and our best HRMS software list too.

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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Also Worth Checking Out: Essential Performance Review Phrases And Best Practices

By Kim Behnke

Kim Behnke is an HR Tool Expert & Writer for People Managing People. She draws on her 9 years of human resources experience and her keen eye for systematic processes to support her analyses of the top HR tools on the market. She is passionate about maximizing efficiencies and streamlining workflows to ensure internal systems run smoothly. Kim's HR experience includes recruitment, onboarding, performance management, training and development, policy development and enforcement, and HR analytics. She also has degrees in psychology, writing, publishing, and technical communication, and recently completed a Certified Digital HR Specialist program through the Academy to Innovate HR. When away from her desk, she can usually be found outside tending to her ever-expanding garden.