by Michele Nachum
Published on 14 May 2013
As we all know, many small to mid-sized companies would like to work on the core parts of their business, but often they do not have the time. HR (especially today) is becoming more complicated but managing employee information has never been more important. Having a professional online service like BambooHR that can take the weight and the stress off a small business that either has a small HR department or no HR department at all. With help from an online service like BambooHR, HR managers have more time for meaningful work: to create a rewarding culture; to provide accurate executive reports with the click of a button; to anticipate employee milestones; to give managers role-specific access that ensures personnel information is confidential and secure; to enable employees to self-service their time off; and to proactively respond to compliance guidelines, which vary from state to state and country to country.Upshot - having a professional online service that automates daily HR tasks is a lifesaver for many entrepreneurs and start-ups.This BambooHR review highlights how this "in the cloud" HR management service specializes in helping small businesses with all of their HR needs.
As Ben Peterson, CEO of BambooHR, says, "BambooHR is the most successful way for small and mid-sized businesses to go from spreadsheets or paper to automated HR software. Our goal is offer unmatched service and free people up to do their work."The five-year-old company fulfills its purpose by helping businesses streamline their many HR needs from hiring, to tracking benefits (including 401Ks), training, boosting employee morale, and much more. The solution can either be an adjunct to a professional HR department or it can help a smaller company that has an informal HR staff access professional HR tools.
The BambooHR interface is relatively easy to follow. The ribbon at the top of the screen helps the users easily navigate through the solution: My Info, Dashboard, Employees, Reports, Files and Tools - all of these tabs allow the user to conduct and view various tasks and information. Of course like any HR solution, depending on whether you are a manager, VP or employee - your access to certain proprietary information (i.e.: salaries, hiring dates, etc.) will be different depending on rank and role and Bamboo HR can help a company set that up.They also offer an easy way to customize the layout of the app.
We reviewed BambooHR a year and a half ago and gave the solution a good review - as we felt the BambooHR was a solid, robust, affordable and easy to learn solution for small businesses. We are updating the review as in the past year or so, Bamboo's product and business model have improved.
Five Languages - Now BambooHR serves customers in more than 70 countries and is available in five new languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, German, French/Canadian, and Dutch. This allows not only companies residing in those regions to use their language of origin, but it also expands Bamboo's international reach. Single Sign On (SSO)** : Along with multiple API and webhook enhancements, BambooHR has added Single Sign-On, so you do not have to constantly enter your password every time you log on; instead you can simply sign on with your Google account login or through your company's intranet portal and other applications. New Partners - Let's face it, any good service simply cannot be good at EVERYTHING. Most applications whether they are HR, CRM or project management will have additional partners to provide more in-depth services. Now BambooHR offers integration opportunities at no extra charge to many partners that specialize in different aspects of HR, including payroll, applicant tracking, background checks, and more. Mobile Application** - Now employees and managers can view critical information right from their mobile device. Through BambooHR's native mobile iOS and Android app, employees and managers can make and approve time off, see PTO balances and access their company directory right from their mobile device. This is important as many people today are working in the field, working from home, or traveling. Having this data on a smartphone or tablet makes life much easier.
Dashboard - Each Bamboo user - whether an employee or administrator - will see their own customized dashboard. BambooHR dashboards will depict an individual's vacation days and other personal information. The dashboard is also where users can post company-wide information - earnings reports, upcoming employee off-sites, new product releases, etc. There are widgets that offer up this information and users can customize their dashboard by dropping and dragging information in the dashboard in a way that is easy for the user to view. Employees - BambooHR makes it easy to add and update employee-related information all in one tab. Also in the employee tab is where a company can populate an employee directory. A nifty feature is hitting the S on your keyboard, which will take you directly to the search box so you can look up various colleagues. Also in the employee section you can customize your view and change the order of the information by hitting the customize tab on the page and walking through the steps to change the view to one of your liking.You can also add in new employees in this tab and suffice it say, Bamboo HR makes it easy to do so with a few primary pieces of information (like hire dates, contact information and more). In this field you can then offer the employee access to Bamboo HR (they will receive an email where they can then follow a link to set up their passwords) and then the new employee will have access to the system. In the tools bar (which we will get to further in the review) you can set permissions for various employees and managers. Some people from HR and executives as well as managers may be able to view the new employee's more personal information such as salary while the rest of the company may only view the person's contact info and photo.The employee tab is where you can also update the information for a single employee or a whole group - following a few steps and watching one of Bamboo's self-help videos can show you how easy the process is. Customizations: BambooHR also makes it easy to createcustom fields, tables, and tabs, giving users accurate data on demand. The system tracks everything from education and skills to incidents, certifications and shirt size. Standard or historical tables also add to the system's robust reporting functionality. Files: This is where you can store company-wide information such as handbooks and other documents you wish your employees to view. Repor** t *s* : BambooHR offers two types of reports: default and custom. Default reports, like Compensation History, Turnover Rate, Missing Data, and Time Off Balances are always ready and waiting. You can easily create custom reports at any time for any field in the system. Examples include Training History and Benefit Enrollment, among others. Tools and Manage Area** - the Tools and the Manage Area (located at the very top right hand of the screen) are where Bamboo's core admin features live. Tools such as creating email alerts to remind you of a new employee's 30 day milestone for instance are available for the HR people. Also, in the tool tab you can create company-wide announcements and Bamboo does a nice job making it easy to follow the steps to create these company announcements. Some of the other tools include enabling electronic signatures and much more. The Management tab in BambooHR is where you can set up the specifics of the benefit offerings and other such important information that will populate people's dashboards. You can insert in vacation day information and health benefits while in the management tab. Management is also where you can set "permissions" of who can view what information.In addition to some of the important HR functionality, management is where you find the Single Sign On solution.
BambooHR is very affordable (compare it to other HR solutions and you will see that is the case). Pricing runs from $49 per month for one to ten users and then goes up to $99 per month for 11-25 users. The solution has pricing for larger organizations as well - for example $199 per month for up to 100 users to $399 per month for 200 or more users.