BambooHR is our choice for the best HR software and best HR outsourcing solution for employee onboarding. It’s ideal for small businesses seeking a streamlined hiring process via an HR solution that facilitates employee recruitment, hiring and onboarding.
Thanks to its customizable plans, easy-to-use software, and advanced recruitment and onboarding tools, BambooHR is our choice for the best human resources (HR) software and best HR outsourcing solution for businesses prioritizing employee onboarding. BambooHR’s flexible packages include traditional HR management features like applicant tracking, onboarding and offboarding, document storage, benefits tracking, time-off management, reporting, workflows and approvals, and employee self-service functions. If you want a more comprehensive platform, you can easily add enhanced functions like payroll processing, benefits administration, time tracking and employee performance evaluations.
9.1 / 10
Every version of BambooHR software comes with basic HR functions and essential workforce management features, including employee records, benefits tracking, document storage, time-off management, and workflows and approvals. We like that select BambooHR plans also include the features you need to take employee recruitment and onboarding to the next level and help you eliminate typical hiring challenges. For example, BambooHR’s applicant tracking system lets you post open positions on job boards, career pages and social media. You can filter candidate resumes and cover letters on keywords to create talent pools of viable candidates. Applicant tracking isn’t something all competitors offer, but it can be a vital element of effective hiring.
Once you find the perfect candidate, you can create an effective onboarding process with BambooHR by sending out offer letters, welcome emails and new-hire packets. You can also create, assign and track other essential onboarding activities for your new hires and current employees. The software’s automated workflows help ensure no onboarding task slips through the cracks. We appreciate that BambooHR also offers similar features for employee offboarding, so you can manage employment from start to finish. For all these reasons and more, Bamboo HR is our choice for the best HR software and best HR outsourcing solution for employee onboarding.
BambooHR helps you automate the employee onboarding process. Source: BambooHR
When we tested BambooHR, its usability was one of its most appealing aspects. Because the platform is web-based, anyone on your team can access the software from any device, including smartphones and tablets. Employees can use the self-service portal to manage their time off, review employee benefits and training, and access company calendars.
We liked that Bamboo HR’s user-friendly dashboard doesn’t require much training; this wasn’t the case with many competitors we reviewed. While the software is intuitive, BambooHR offers several online videos that explain each tool and function in depth. To make the platform even easier to use, BambooHR integrates with more than 125 third-party applications – in addition to boasting an open API – to give businesses a unified system that can handle multiple critical workflows.
Access BambooHR’s marketplace to integrate the HR platform with other apps and software you may already use, including Slack, Checkr, 15Five, Leapsome and Deputy.
BambooHR has two primary HR software plans: Essentials and Advantage. For this review, we evaluated the Advantage plan’s features and found the following noteworthy.
BambooHR helps you manage employees from the recruitment stage through offboarding. The software lets you post job openings (via social media, job boards and your website’s career page) and track them, making recruiting easier for busy hiring managers. You can easily search for keywords in applicant resumes, cover letters and application questions, and filter those results based on other features. We like that you can review and rate applicants, send emails and track the status of candidates, distribute offer letters and new-hire packets, and onboard remotely with e-signature capabilities.
If you aren’t ready to hire or have received too many qualified applicants, we love that you can create talent pools with the BambooHR software. This feature lets you nurture previous candidate relationships to keep them in your pipeline for when you’re ready to fill your next open position.
We also like that BambooHR offers a mobile app for iOS and Android devices; this is on par with industry standards. The mobile version of BambooHR’s software helps employers and HR staff stay organized even when they’re on the go. Plus, instead of being restricted to the office, you can manage your recruiting and onboarding process from any location.
Part of onboarding new hires includes administering employee benefits. We like that BambooHR now offers benefits management and administration as an add-on feature to its plans (for U.S.-based employees only). This enhancement lets you customize and manage open-enrollment windows, edit benefit coverage levels and dates, communicate benefit plan information, and review and approve employee benefit elections – all from one platform. We found this service comparable to what others in the industry offer.
If you want time and attendance features included with your BambooHR software, you can add the company’s time-tracking package. This module provides access to valuable tools like daily time entry, employee timesheets, group settings, automatic overtime calculations and payroll reports. You can even create approval workflows. For example, create a workflow that automatically sends timesheets to managers at the end of each pay period for approval. We found BambooHR’s time-tracking features to be on par with those of its rivals.
With BambooHR’s mobile app, it’s easy for employees to clock in and out, check their timesheets, and request time off from their phones. Source: BambooHR
If you prefer a stand-alone time and attendance solution, read our reviews of the best time and attendance services. These solutions have robust scheduling, punch-in, tracking and time-off management features.
Companies that need basic payroll functions can add BambooHR’s in-house payroll solution to their BambooHR plan. It provides help with tax filings and end-of-year tax forms and syncs your financial data in the BambooHR platform with wages, hours worked, employee benefits, account numbers, federal and state withholdings, and deductions.
We like that the payroll system comes with HR reporting features that let you quickly analyze critical payroll summaries and data. We also like that BambooHR uses security measures like data encryption and continuous monitoring to ensure sensitive data is secure.
After onboarding employees, you can easily assess their performance through BambooHR’s performance management add-on. You must ensure your new hires are the right hires, so these assessments can quickly identify and address areas of improvement and increase employee engagement.
We like that BambooHR’s performance management add-on has a peer feedback feature: Employees answer questions about their co-workers; you can use their answers to gain a clear view of your team’s overall performance and each staffer’s strengths and weaknesses. Encouraging employees to provide honest feedback is also a great way to retain the employees you worked so hard to hire and onboard.
When we tested BambooHR’s performance management features, we liked how easily the software can create and monitor employee performance goals. Instead of guessing how close each person is to achieving their specific objectives, managers can use the program to track employee success. If a worker isn’t meeting their goals, you can address the problem, provide additional assistance if needed and restructure their objectives to meet the needs of the employee and the business. [Read related article: How to Improve Work With a Performance Improvement Plan]
Additionally, BambooHR offers a unique tool that helps you view employee and company performance reports. These reports provide a visual indication of which employees or teams are your highest performers. They also show you how employees feel about your organization. You can use these reports to predict performance issues before they occur. This feature can be critical in managing performance and setting employee goals.
Your employees can track and manage their goals within the BambooHR platform. Source: BambooHR
You can use BambooHR to create custom access levels that protect employees’ privacy and ensure only team members with the appropriate authority level can view specific HR information. Another essential but somewhat unique HR compliance feature BambooHR offers is its audit trail function, which tracks each staff member’s changes to the system. This trail helps ensure you always know who has changed the software should an issue arise. [Interested in HR software that lets you create custom workflows for HR processes other than approvals? Read our review of GoCo.]
The level of reporting included in BambooHR software depends on the plan. The Advantage plan gives you access to custom reports and email alerts, allowing you to view HR data relevant to your business’s needs. When you sign up for the Advantage plan, you also receive employee satisfaction (employee Net Promoter Score, or eNPS) reports, which show how your employees feel about your organization. Although not all of BambooHR’s competitors offer eNPS reports, team member satisfaction tracking is becoming more common.
BambooHR can aggregate data into meaningful reports and charts. Source: BambooHR
As mentioned above, BambooHR has two HR software plans: Essentials and Advantage. You can customize each plan with add-ons, including payroll, benefits administration, time and attendance tracking, and performance management. As with other HR solutions we evaluated, you are charged monthly on a per-employee basis. We appreciate that the vendor doesn’t charge cancellation fees.
However, while some HR vendors we reviewed list their pricing online, BambooHR does not. Instead of offering a preset package at a predetermined rate, the company provides you with a custom quote based on a plan that fits your business’s HR needs. Your costs will hinge on how many employees you have, the types of HR functions you want and how soon you want to implement the software.
If you want to try the BambooHR software before purchasing, you can take advantage of the company’s online demo. Unlike many competitors, BambooHR also offers a seven-day free trial.
BambooHR is one of the more intuitive HR platforms we investigated; its implementation process is relatively straightforward. Once you upload employee data to the software, you can customize the system to meet your company’s needs and train employees. We like that BambooHR has several employee self-service features employees can use to manage their information.
According to the vendor, the average implementation period is four to six weeks. While HR system setup is quicker with some providers, like Gusto, BambooHR’s implementation time frame aligns with those of similar services. Fortunately, as noted above, learning how to use the BambooHR software doesn’t take much time, and plenty of instructional material is available if needed.
Users can turn to BambooHR’s blog, podcast, online library, webinars, HR glossary, guides, online calculators and HR crisis recovery platform for help regarding any issue or question. We like that the company also provides a website page outlining product updates, new features and fixes. This communication level shows clients that the company actively listens to and acts on product enhancement suggestions. Surprisingly, we didn’t see many competitors list their updates as thoroughly as BambooHR does.
If you have a question or concern and prefer to speak with a BambooHR representative, you can call or email the vendor. There’s also an option to fill out a contact form on the company’s website that will relay your message to the right person. Notably, BambooHR’s phone support is limited to 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. MT, whereas some competitors we reviewed offer 24/7 support.
BambooHR’s blog provides extensive information on its products as well as HR topics of interest. Source: BambooHR
Although BambooHR has several great features that make it an attractive choice for businesses in need of an HR solution, we found some limitations:
We researched and analyzed dozens of HR systems and HRO solutions to identify the best HR software and services on the market. We examined pricing, contracts, recruiting and onboarding capabilities, employee benefits administration, time-tracking features, payroll processing, performance management tools, reports, integrations, legal compliance assistance, usability, and customer service. We also watched product videos and conducted demos when possible. When looking for the best HR software and services for employee onboarding specifically, we prioritized features for recruiting, applicant tracking, and hiring and onboarding, as well as e-signature capabilities, usability, reporting, employee self-service and customer service.
No, BambooHR is not free. However, the vendor offers a seven-day free trial for those who want to test the software before committing. Once you’re ready to sign up, there are two paid plans to choose from and four optional feature sets (payroll, benefits administration, performance management and time tracking) that you can add to each plan. BambooHR doesn’t list pricing online, so you must contact a company representative for a quote.
No, BambooHR is not a customer relationship management (CRM) platform. Instead, it’s an HR software solution designed to help you recruit, hire and onboard employees. With its additional features, the system can also help you track employee hours, administer benefits, pay workers and manage employee performance.
Yes. BambooHR is compatible with more than 125 third-party applications, including QuickBooks.
While BambooHR can support various business sizes, most of its customers tend to be small and midsize businesses with fewer than 250 employees. If you have between 20 and 100 employees, you are likely a great candidate for BambooHR.