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Using BambooHR in 2023:
Marie's honest review

🎋 BambooHR has been a staple full-service HR tool for small- to medium-sized businesses globally since 2008. Since then many new tools have entered the tool market. I am pitting BambooHR against the competition to see how it fares in an international HR context in 2023 – continue reading to find out what my verdict is. 😊

Total Score:

Who is BambooHR suitable for?

BambooHR is ideal for small- and medium-sized companies with up to 500 people and a decent budget that operate in any type of industry. At a larger headcount some of the functionalities, such as reporting, can become a bit clunky (you will receive an error notification if you try to add more than 75 fields to a report), so scaling processes can hit its limits. 

It is also suited for companies with team members in different locations. 🌍 You can define location-specific settings according to most local requirements and manage access groups flexibly. You need to keep in mind, however, that BambooHR is an American company and the standard fields and settings in the tool are based on an American HR setup. And one key drawdown in BambooHR's flexibility is that its employee data fields are not editable by yourself. You will need to contact the BambooHR support team, communicate your desired edits to them and they will implement the data fields for you.


BambooHR's large variety of tool integrations make it a great fit for pretty much any company with more than one HR tool. Tool integrations are important if you want to avoid having to manually up- and download employee data from one tool to the other. You want them to be able to 'speak' with each other by integrating them with one another. You can easily integrate BambooHR to your existing tool landscape by checking out whether your tools are already part of the BambooHR marketplace and if not, build a custom integration using their open API. And just like that you are one steps closer to a fully integrate HR tool landscape. 🤝

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What modules and features does BambooHR have?

BambooHR is a full service HR toll with a large set of features that work for most industries and customer needs. Here's a list of all individual modules and features available:

  • Recruiting Tool (ATS) 💼

  • Employee Data Management (HRIS) 🗂️

  • On- & Offboarding incl. a Preboarding New Hire Packet (welcome emails to new employees even before they start) 📧

  • Reporting & Analytics 📊

  • eNPS & Employee Wellbeing Surveys 📋😌

  • Performance Reviews 🏆

  • Payroll 💰

  • Time Tracking ⏰

  • Benefits & Payroll Administration (mostly relevant for the USA, most other countries require 3rd party integrations) 🏥

  • Mobile App 📱


Core features, usability and ease of use

Before going into further detail about BambooHR's different modules and features, let's first start with the basics. Since your team will be using your new HR SaaS tool every day, ease of use and simple navigation are essential. After all, adoption of the new tool will only be high if your team members will find their way around effortlessly and enjoy using the tool. 🤓 🛠️

In this regard, BambooHR hits all the right spots. It is:

  • User-friendly: BambooHR has a simple and intuitive interface that makes it easy for users to navigate and use. 🤝

  • Customizable: The platform allows businesses to tailor their HR workflows and processes to their specific needs, which helps streamline operations and increase efficiency.

  • Offers a space to store centralized data: BambooHR provides a central location for all HR-related data, making it easy to access and manage employee information. This means no more scattered Excel Sheets and incoherent data sources. 

  • Time-saving: BambooHR automates many HR tasks, such as onboarding and offboarding, which saves HR teams time and reduces errors. 

  • Scalable: BambooHR has the right features to grow your business while keeping the size of your HR team small and agile. 🌱

About me

I am an HR Consultant and tool implementation expert based in Berlin, Germany. I have been running my consulting business since 2019, advising both startups and scale-up clients on how to best select HR tools and software as well as supporting as an interim HR Lead or strategy consultant for select clients.


BambooHR for employee data management

🌿💼 BambooHR offers an easy and convenient way of showing your core employee data in one spot. 

  • Strong set of permission levels: Different management levels and teams in the company can view different information areas within team member's profiles

  • Each team member gets their specific and customizable tool view: You can store all sorts of information on the employee access level that is unique to your industry or specific use case

  • Easily keep track of sick days, paid time-off and other absences: Employees can easily request various different types of leave and time-off directly via the tool or the mobile app. Managers receive push notifications about planned absences via mail or text. This is an extremely helpful feature that works flawlessly, especially in busy real world use cases.

  • Self-service for employees is very convenient: Employees can keep their profiles updated without much effort. They can also receive nudges and reminders via email or app to keep their data up-to-date. This key feature can be set up easily and helps you automate otherwise highly time-consuming HR administrative tasks.

  • Employee e-signatures: BambooHR has a powerful e-signature functionality that allows you to have document pre-populated with employee data from the tool and send it out to team members for review and electronic signing. Once signed they will automatically be saved in the employee profiles' documents section. However do keep in mind that this functionality might not be compliant with local law in all geographies that your company operates in. 🖋️

  • The Performance review module is decent: It has room for improvement in terms of its customisability. Nevertheless, the standard features are solid enough for anyone running performance reviews for the first time. 

BambooHR for hiring

While hiring is not the core focus of BambooHR (there are other very good dedicated tools for this), it still offers most of the key functionality that is sufficient for small teams to cover moderate volumes of recruiting:

  • BambooHR's hiring module allows recruiters to post jobs openings, receive and manage applications, track candidates through the process and send out offers

  • For standardized use cases this generally works quite well. A more sophisticated setup would require more customisability. Non-standardized processes that require a lot of individualization or processes that change often might not be easily reflected in the hiring module's settings. 💻

  • There is a built in job page that can be published onto your company's website, allowing you to easily post all open roles without any coding or maintenance required.

  • Limited recruiting features: While BambooHR offers an applicant tracking system, it may not be as robust as some other recruiting tools on the market. Some users have noted that the system lacks features such as resume parsing or advanced candidate search capabilities. If your company plans to recruit for a large amount of open roles you might need to look for an additional tool such as Greenhouse, Lever or Workable – all of these easily integrate into BambooHR via their API functionality. 👍

  • Whether you choose to use the Recruiting module or not, the price stays the same.

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Employee on- and offboarding

An easy on- and offboarding process helps shape people's perception of your company. BambooHR allows for great customization of these processes and comes with an array of helpful pre-sets and standard templates: 🎯

  • Highly customisable tasks notifications: BambooHR allows you to tailor your on- and offboarding notifications exactly to your needs. Its highly customisable settings allow you to create individual task lists for different employee groups, attach documents and deadlines and have employees, managers and other stakeholders administer them all via their inbox - all with just a few clicks!

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  • Electronic New Hire Packet: You can send your new joiners an electronic New Hire Packet even before they join your company. This way, you can share important information on their new team and peers with them, have them share their payroll relevant data and have them answer a few questions on them to help their peers get to know them. You are helping new starters to hit the ground running on their start date without any administrative hassle! Especially when you are onboarding large groups of new starters in a short period of time, this feature will come in very handy.

  • Best-practice templates: You won't need to reinvent the wheel to get going. BambooHR has set up standardized on- and offboarding templates ready for you to use, edit and duplicate.

  • Never miss a task: Set up automated reminders and never miss any steps again while also saving time for your team. For this, make sure to activate the 'Task Reminder Alert' in the Email Alerts settings.

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Reporting, analytics and 3rd party exports

Workforce and people analytics is an integral part of every good HR management system. Having a clear view on your teams sick days, benefits, salary and turnover data makes data-driven decisions so much easier. 👥📊

  • BambooHR provides almost 40 standard reports and charts that are ready to use. These include a headcount and demographic report, but also other useful reports such as an Audit Trail report of all changes that were made in the tool and a Missing Data report which shows you what employee data might still be missing from your records. Unfortunately, the missing data report only includes standard data fields, not custom ones you might have asked to have added to the tool. 

  • BambooHR generally is very strong on the reporting side of things and offers customizable and visually pleasing reports about almost every module and data type. Keep in mind, however, that you can only display up to 75 data fields in one report.

  • Power Edit function: When browsing reports the power edit function allows you to edit data fields in multiple profiles direclty in-line in the report. This way you can manually edit the data even in complex custom reports without having to click into each employee profile and tab individually - a real time-saver.

  • All data can be exported via Excel, PDF and CSV formats for further use in 3rd party applications.

  • Graphs and charts can be added for quick visualization

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GDRP compliance and usage in the European Union

For European customers wishing to adhere to local data protection legislation (GDPR), BambooHR assures that employee data will only be stored on servers located in the European Union. 🇪🇺

Additionally, BambooHR is equipped to serve European customers and offers standard contracts and documentation which allows for a GDPR-compliant implementation. 

In any case European clients are advised to do a legal check of these GDPR-relevant contracts and terms before choosing BambooHR as their new software partner, but in many cases a compliant setup is possible. 

BambooHR pricing in 2023

BambooHR offers two pricing models: Essentials and Advantage.🌟 The Essentials subscription includes all the features of the Advantage package, except some core ones such as custom tabs and fields and custom access levels. It is also missing the some key features such as the on- and offboarding tasks and the recruiting tool. Most BambooHR clients therefore opt for the Advanced subscription.

BambooHR is moderately priced, billed per user and per month and can be cancelled on a monthly basis. They generally do not offer any big discounts or time-based incentives. However, the larger your organization grows the higher the discount level you will receive for any additional users will be. Additional discounts may be available for companies that opt into yearly instead of monthly billing or choose very long minimum contract durations.

Final verdict

Even in 2023, BambooHR remains a feature-rich and robust choice for small and medium sized companies to administer their workforce data. During my review of BambooHR I've noticed all basic functionality to work really well, also in stressful scenarios like onboarding lots of new employees in one month or hiring many people all at once. Especially the reporting and notification features allow for many advanced use-cases and are industry-leading. 🎉👍

Additionally, all parts of the BambooHR User Interface still feel snappy and easy to use, even though the company has been around for a long time already! 🚀 BambooHR constantly manages to introduce new features and innovate their core product without becoming overbearing or hard to navigate.

Technology-driven organizations will appreciate the sheer multitude of 3rd party integrations and API support that BambooHR offers. If there is another HR tool in your company's tool stack, chances that it will hook up to BambooHR successfully, are very high.

On the downside please do keep in mind that BambooHR is not suitable for large organizations with 500+ employees. Additionally, BambooHR is very US-centric in many of it's pre-defined settings and workflows, which can make internatial usage challenging. There are ways of working around these limitations, but this comes with manual support requests to the BambooHR support team and additional complexity levels.

Generally, BambooHR remains a favourite of mine in 2023 and should be on the consideration list of any small to medium sized business looking for a new HRIS tool this year! 🎋

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