BambooHR vs Zenefits: an objective comparison

BambooHR is a respected name in the HRMS market. Founded in 2008 and resolutely focused on small to medium business clients, Bamboo helps businesses transition from non-automated HR (spreadsheets) to a true HRMS with an easy and intuitive package.

Zenefits was founded more recently and initially set out to be a freemium point of access to various benefits and insurance providers. However, after a 2016 scandal around licensing shortcuts which resulted in a change of CEO, the company has relaunched itself as a provider of automated HR services. Which of these two HRMS packages fit your needs best? Here are a few key issues to bear in mind…

Company size and industry

BambooHR provides services for tens of thousands of users across all industry sectors and spread across 70 countries but, as mentioned above, focusing on small to medium organizations and also freelancers with micro-businesses. Zenefits supply a similar-sized market but with a more US-focus, with users in all 50 states. However, given that Zenefits staff are spread between the US and India, one suspects international growth is likely and imminent.

Functionality

BambooHR offers the usual package of HRMS features with long-established and proven modules for employee database, time and attendance, recruitment (recently featured in recruiter.com’s top 10 ATSs) and onboarding, and a mobile app providing employees with a personal dashboard for their data and transactions. Workflows seem fully customizable and in 2017, Bamboo added a payroll module to round out their everything-for-the-small-business package.

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Zenefits’ Z2 marks a shift in business model towards the all-in-one HRMS market, and provides the expected features: benefits, time and attendance, HR database, hiring, onboarding, compliance and payroll. The company proclaims a ‘mobile-first mindset’ which will be especially attractive to businesses on the move or with a distributed workforce.

Deployment

Both companies are cloud-based, making for easy, anywhere access to HR data and processes. Where BambooHR’s pricing model is quote-based (it’s competitive but you have to contact them to know what it might cost you), Zenefits has a clear pricing structure on its website, with two basic packages that carry both monthly and annual prices (the annual includes a saving of up to 25%) plus the option of adding extra modules (e.g. payroll, benefits, and a number of ‘advisor’ packages) for a small extra fee.

Support

Given that both companies are targeting the small business market (i.e. companies often without dedicated in-house support) it’s unsurprising that they both emphasize their customer support provision. Bamboo offer a, “real, live customer support team”, accessible by phone and email, plus a range of free video tutorials, forums, training webinars, whitepapers, and a 24/7 online knowledge base. Zenefits offers a similar phone/email/chat support team, backed up by a self-service Help Center containing hundreds of FAQs and articles, plus it manages an online Customer Community, connecting users in a self-help forum.

Ultimately, Zenefits may have the edge on functionality and customer support but BambooHR’s strategy of keeping it simple is paying off with a long-term reliability appreciated by users.

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Dave Foxall

About the author…

Dave has worked as HR Manager for the Ministry of Justice for a number of years, he now writes on a broad range of topics including jazz music, and, of course, the HRMS software market.

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Dave Foxall