November 13, 2023

Top BambooHR Alternatives & Competitors 2024

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Although BambooHR is a great human resources management system (HRMS) for streamlining HR processes, its wide range of modules means you may be missing out on some of the more advanced features that your team needs.

If that’s the case, our shortlist of top BambooHR alternatives below can help you fill in where it’s lacking:

  • TriNet Zenefits is best for benefits administration.
  • Gusto is best for automated payroll.
  • Namely is best for customizable performance management and engagement.
  • Zoho People is best for employee training.
  • Homebase is best for complex scheduling for hourly teams.

Writer’s note: This article mentions TriNet Zenefits. On December 19, 2023, TriNet issued a statement announcing the end of the Zenefits brand. Effective immediately, the Zenefits platform was absorbed into TriNet’s portfolio of products and services, becoming TriNet HR Platform.

Nov. 13, 2023: Kaiti Norton removed information about Gusto’s 529 college savings benefit, which the company no longer offers. She also made small formatting updates to a few page elements.

Jul. 15, 2023: We reviewed our recommendations to make sure they remain the best BambooHR alternatives on the market and provided additional analysis to explain our methodology. We also revised the copy and page structure for accuracy, consistency, and readability.

We picked our choices with you in mind.

First, we evaluated 19 solutions based on current options and the reviews of customers like you. We then narrowed our selections to BambooHR equivalent all-in-one HRMs for small and medium-sized businesses.

We considered the following products during our research:

  • SAP SuccessFactors HXM
  • Workday HCM
  • Ceridian Dayforce
  • UKG Pro
  • Darwinbox
  • Oracle Fusion Cloud HCM
  • ADP Workforce Now
  • Paychex Flex
  • Paylocity
  • APS
  • TriNet Zenefits
  • Zoho People
  • Namely
  • Gusto
  • Sage HR
  • Bob
  • Rippling
  • Freshteam
  • Homebase

As the market changes, we reevaluate our choices so you always receive the best insight for your purchasing decision.

What are the top BambooHR alternatives?

BambooHR differentiator Starting price Free trial?
TriNet Zenefits EDI carrier feeds $8/employee/mo. 14-day Try Zenefits
Gusto Automatic payroll $40/mo. + $6/employee/mo. No Try Gusto
Namely 360-degree feedback Contact sales No Try Namely
Zoho People Training courses $1.25/user/mo. or free plan 30-day Try Zoho
Homebase Automated scheduling $20/location/mo. or free plan No Try Homebase

Explore our HR Software Guide for a complete list of solutions to fit your needs.

TriNet Zenefits: Best for benefits administration

TriNet Zenefits logo

At its core, TriNet Zenefits is a human resources information system (HRIS) with additional price plans and add-ons for more advanced features. Like BambooHR, it offers modules covering most HR management processes, from recruiting to onboarding, payroll, workforce management, and performance.

TriNet Zenefits includes benefits administration software features in all plans if you use a Zenefits broker. On the other hand, with BambooHR, this is an add-on feature. Even then, you will still have to purchase a benefits plan with an insurance broker and spend time setting up your unique plan in BambooHR. 

In contrast, you can save money by purchasing benefits directly through Zenefits’ partners, including:

  • Health, dental, and vision insurance.
  • Flexible spending accounts (FSA) and health savings accounts (HSA).
  • Commuter benefits.
  • 401(k).
  • Life and disability insurance.

Using Zenefits’ broker partners means faster benefits administration for your teams, but you can still bring your own broker. Using your broker incurs an additional fee of $5 per employee per month. So, if you want to simplify the benefits selection process, automate open enrollment and notifications to employees and carriers, and reduce your benefit administration costs, consider Zenefits instead.

EDI carrier feed

You can leverage Zenefits’ electronic data interchange (EDI) carrier feeds for an additional fee to automatically send your employees’ enrollment and change information to your carriers. This prevents you from manually filling out forms and sending them to your carriers, saving you time in the long run.

Automated ACA compliance

Zenefits ensures you comply with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by tracking employee eligibility and automatically sending 1095-C forms to employees and the IRS during tax season. It even alerts you to potential compliance violations so that you can promptly address any issues and avoid legal penalties.

Zenefits Compliance Assistant notifies you if any of your employees are out of compliance with the ACA so you can prevent any issues before they become serious. Source: TriNet Zenefits

Standard Tiers
  • Essentials: $8 per month per employee.
  • Growth: $16 per month per employee.
  • Zen: $21 per month per employee.
Add-ons
  • Payroll: $6 per month per employee.
  • Advisory Services: $8 per month per employee.
  • Benefits Admin Using Own Broker: $5 per month per employee.
  • Recruiting: starting at $35 per month.

  • Customizable benefits through Zenefits or with your benefits broker.
  • HR or payroll experts add-on to get advice and mitigate compliance risk.
  • Compensation management features to reward top talent and ensure pay equity.

Zenefits and Gusto provide a range of comparable features – check them out in our video deep-dive below:

Gusto: Best for automated payroll

The Gusto logo.

Gusto started as a payroll software but has since become a full-fledged HRMS with features comparable to BambooHR. However, because of its start in payroll processing, Gusto outshines BambooHR in this department and is even one of our favorite payroll platforms.

BambooHR can accommodate various payroll schedules, deduct and file federal and state taxes on your behalf, and sync employee time and benefits data with payroll. Gusto offers the same, plus more payroll-focused features like unlimited payrolls per month to correct payroll errors immediately.

In addition, Gusto accommodates your distributed teams with payroll support for employees and contractors in all 50 states. You can also opt for an add-on to onboard, manage, and pay contractors in more than 120 countries.Therefore, Gusto may be the better option for your workforce if you have particularly complicated payrolls with a mix of employee classifications and pay rates.

Automated payroll

With Gusto’s AutoPilot feature, you can run payroll automatically before payday with minimal intervention. As long as you and your employees have updated all necessary information, like direct deposit or pay rate changes, you can save time on manual data entry and worry less about missing payroll deadlines.

Financial wellness tools

Through Gusto Wallet, Gusto’s mobile application, employees can manage their earnings, set savings goals, and access paychecks and W-2s at their convenience. This gives employees more control of their earnings, so you spend less time responding to paystub requests.

Gusto Wallet
Gusto Wallet allows employees to monitor their earnings and even track their spending habits, giving them a better understanding of their finances month-to-month. Source: Gusto

Standard Tiers
  • Simple: $40 per month plus $6 per employee per month.
  • Plus: $80 per month plus $12 per employee per month.
  • Premium: Contact sales.
Add-ons
  • International contractor payments.
  • State tax registration.
  • R&D tax credits.
  • Health insurance broker integration ($6 per month per eligible employee).
  • 401(k) retirement savings.
  • HSAs ($2.50 per month, per participant).
  • FSAs ($4 per month, per participant, with a $20 per month minimum, even if fewer than 5 employees).
  • Dependent care FSAs ($4 per month, per participant, with a $20 per month minimum, even if fewer than 5 employees).
  • Commuter benefits ($4 per month, per participant with a $20 per month minimum, even if fewer than 5 employees).

  • Contractor-only plan for small businesses without employees.
  • Synced onboarding, time-tracking, benefits, and payroll features to minimize the chance of pay errors.
  • Employee lifetime access to paystubs to reduce follow-up with HR professionals.

Namely: Best for customizable performance management and engagement features

The Namely logo.

Namely targets mid-sized companies needing more than a centralized employee records database or payroll and benefits management. Instead, it focuses on providing you with accessible reports to track important HR metrics and create a more positive workplace culture and employee experience.

Beyond built-in, full-service payroll, user access controls, and customizable reporting, Namely’s biggest BambooHR differentiator is its robust performance management features. In particular, it facilitates multiple review cadences beyond traditional review cycles, including immediate or 360-degree feedback and performance improvement plans.

Namely also includes a social media-like newsfeed to post company announcements, celebrate birthdays and work anniversaries, publicly recognize peers, and like, react, and comment on posts, which BamhooHR lacks.

Additional elements like dynamic organizational charts and customizable employee profiles make it easy for employees to find and engage with their coworkers, making it a more enjoyable HR software to interact with.

Check out our Top Performance Management Software shortlist for some other great performance management solutions.

Continuous feedback

Managers and employees can request or give feedback outside of traditional performance reviews. Namely allows you to set up multiple cycles or give feedback on the fly, so you or your employees can understand where they excel or address areas needing improvement as soon as they occur.

360-degree reviews

Namely facilitates self-evaluations, plus peer and manager reviews, for a complete 360-degree understanding of employee performance. In doing so, your employees can adjust how they work with their coworkers to foster cooperation and team growth.

Learn more about how to run performance evaluations in Namely below:

You must contact sales for Namely’s pricing options. Below are the different packages you can choose from:

  • HR Fundamentals includes company newsfeed, employee directory, organizational chart, reporting and analytics, performance and goals, onboarding, and time off management. 
  • HR Complete includes everything in Fundamentals, plus payroll, benefits administration, risk management services, time and attendance, and recruiting.
  • Enhanced Services add-ons offer managed payroll or benefits for either tier.

  • Community newsfeed to update employees on company news and changes and publicly recognize peers.
  • Payroll and benefits services for companies without internal resources.
  • E-Verify integration to ensure I-9 compliance for your new employees.

Zoho People: Best for employee training

The Zoho logo.

Like BamhooHR, Zoho People is an all-in-one HR software with modules supporting every stage of the employee life cycle. Users also praise Zoho for its user-friendly talent management interface that allows you to navigate through disparate HR processes with ease.

One of the areas where Zoho does well — and BambooHR falls short — is its training and career development module. Zoho People provides employees with options to learn in the style that’s best for them, including blended learning features to accommodate self-paced, live virtual, or traditional classroom methods.

In contrast, you must integrate third-party learning management system (LMS) software with BambooHR, from which BambooHR will record completed training courses in employee profiles. Zoho People’s LMS is a native add-on to its Essential HR, Professional, or Premium plans for an additional $18 per user annually. It is automatically included in its Enterprise and Premium Plus Plans.

So, if your business requires specific training for your team or you want to use learning to increase employee engagement, Zoho People can facilitate customized learning paths and course schedules. In doing so, you can improve new hire ramp-up times and other recruitment metrics while fostering a culture of continuous learning.

Onboarding training workflows

You can help new employees get up to speed in your organization by automatically assigning courses to complete as part of their onboarding. This supports training consistency across your organization and can even ensure your organization provides any legally required courses, like workplace harassment or workplace violence and prevention.

Distributed workforce support

Zoho People includes a mobile app where users can access their training courses on the go, even if they do not work at a desk. Additionally, virtual sessions and asynchronous feedback allow your team to communicate about and monitor their training progress to adjust development courses as necessary — even if they all work different schedules.

Zoho People dashboard
Zoho People gives employees the flexibility to access your training courses at any time so that they can learn what they want whenever they want and promote career development. Source: Zoho People

Standard Tiers
  • Free plan: for up to 5 users and 250 MB storage.
  • Essential HR: $1.25 per user, per month.
  • Professional: $2.00 per user, per month.
  • Premium: $3.00 per user, per month.
  • Enterprise: $4.50 per user, per month.
  • Premium Plus: $9.00 per user, per month.
Add-ons
  • Employee Profiles: starting at $0.23 per employee profile, per month.
  • Zoho Recruit: starting at $25 per user, per month.
  • Learning Management System: $18 per user, per month for Essential HR, Professional, or Premium plans.

  • Scalable solution with a free plan and multiple affordable price tiers.
  • Native add-ons for recruiting and learning management.
  • Ability to connect with other Zoho products, such as its CRM and IT service management software.
  • AI chatbot Zia for fielding employee questions and automating tasks like clocking in and out for shifts.

Homebase: Best for complex scheduling for hourly teams

Homebase logo

Homebase is an HR software platform for small businesses, especially those with hourly employees. In addition to providing an employee directory, Homebase helps small businesses with:

  • Time-tracking.
  • Hiring and employee onboarding.
  • Employee satisfaction.
  • Point of sale (POS) integration.
  • Tools for managing multiple physical worksites.
  • Labor cost management.

If you’re a small business, Homebase can help you consolidate several HR tasks that usually occur in separate systems. For example, Homebase integrates with some major POS systems, like Square and Toast. By combining your POS and employee scheduling data, Homebase can help monitor and even forecast future labor costs to help with budgeting.

Similar to BambooHR, payroll with Homebase is an add-on feature for an additional $39 per month plus $6 per employee per month. However, adding payroll to Homebase’s free plan gives you capabilities similar to Gusto for cheaper — plus POS integrations and basic scheduling, which Gusto does not offer.

And, if you lack a fully-fledged HR staff for your business, Homebase offers an HR pro advisors add-on to assist your business’s HR situations. For example, Homebase’s HR pros can review your company policies or advise you on HR matters to help develop a harmonious working environment and reduce the risk of employment law violations.

Scheduling

With Homebase, you can easily create employee schedules well in advance, save templates, and copy them to future weeks to save time. Instead of making the schedules by hand, you can enter your employees’ availability, scheduled time off, roles, and sales targets and let Homebase create them to reduce your administrative workload.

Employee communication

Homebase includes a mobile app for you and your employees to communicate without sharing individual phone numbers and creating group chats. Along with keeping everyone updated on important company or shift information, employees can easily collaborate, celebrate wins, and trade shifts with minimal interference from you.

Homebase screenshot
Homebase automatically adds necessary team members to appropriate group chats, reducing the time it takes to coordinate and update these chats with newly onboarded employees. Source: Homebase

Standard Tiers
  • Basics: free for up to 20 employees in one location.
  • Essentials: $20 per location, per month.
  • Plus: $48 per location, per month.
  • All-in-one: $80 per location, per month
Add-ons
  • Payroll: $39 per month plus $6 per employee, per month.
  • HR Pro Advisors and Resources: contact sales.
  • API Access: contact sales.
  • Job Posting Boosts: starting at $79 per post.

  • A free plan including basic scheduling, time tracking, and POS integration features, great for small retail businesses.
  • Labor cost management features to monitor and reduce employee overtime and track multiple pay rates.
  • Integrates with popular HR, accounting, and POS software, like Paychex, Rippling, Gusto, ADP, QuickBooks, and Square.

What are the limitations of BambooHR?

Although BambooHR includes many out-of-the-box capabilities compared to other SMB HR platform competitors, you may want to consider alternatives if you need:

  • A built-in LMS for talent development and training.
  • Scheduling to manage your hourly workforce.
  • Full-service payroll to manage complex teams.
  • Clear, granular levels of access control.
  • Customization for forms, reports, and performance reviews.

Check out BambooHR’s pros and cons in the video below:

Choosing the right BambooHR alternative

BambooHR’s vast selection of modules means you may miss out on the customization you need in certain areas. If so, consider one of these vendors that address BambooHR’s shortcomings:

  • Choose TriNet Zenefits if you want to streamline your benefits offerings.
  • Go with Gusto if you value simple and speedy payroll.
  • Select Namely if you need more customizable performance management features.
  • Pick Zoho People if you want consistency in your employee training.
  • Choose Homebase for more robust employee scheduling and attendance tracking.

If you’re still unsure if these BambooHR competitors are right for you, check out our HR Software Guide for a complete list of solutions.


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About the author


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