Best Human Resource Software 2021

Zenefits vs. BambooHR

Is Zenefits or BambooHR the better solution for you? This in-depth, feature-by-feature breakdown will help you decide which human resource tool is the best fit for your business.

Human resource software includes features like payroll, benefits management, and compliance assistance. It is one of the most critical software tools for small businesses, alongside other foundational software systems like document management software and accounting software.

This article will discuss the differences between two of the largest players in this space: Zenefits and BambooHR. We’ll discuss the notable strengths and weaknesses of each tool, and provide recommendations for who each tool will suit best.

All of our recommendations are based on firsthand research, product demos with the software companies, and dozens of hours spent hand-testing human resource tools. More details regarding our research process can be found on our human resource category page.

Zenefits & BambooHR Comparison Summary

We researched and extensively tested Zenefits and BambooHR. Zenefits received a SoftwarePundit Analyst Rating of 95, while BambooHR received an 89.

Zenefits was rated higher because it is more affordable than BambooHR and its user-friendly interface helps small businesses accomplish essential HR operations for their company and employees. It received the highest rating in our HR software category. BambooHR, conversely, was rated lower because it is less affordable and more difficult to use than Zenefits.

Here’s a breakdown of our review criteria and how Zenefits and BambooHR performed in each category.

CriteriaAnalyst RatingFeaturesUsabilityPricingCustomer Support

In terms of pricing, Zenefits is more affordable than BambooHR. Zenefits’ pricing starts at $10 per user per month. BambooHR’s pricing starts at $99 per month for 12 employees.

Both solutions offer the standard features found across human resource software tools. These include payroll, benefits, time tracking, onboarding assistance, and custom reports. Zenefits’ strongest feature is its onboarding assistance. Zenefits, however, does not offer the applicant tracking system features that BambooHR does. These recruiting features include job post distribution and candidate pipelines.

Overall, we strongly recommend Zenefits over BambooHR if you’re in need of a full-fledged and easy to use human resource software solution. Each feature Zenefits offers is stronger than its counterpart in BambooHR.

BambooHR is helpful for small businesses who need an HR software solution for recruiting. If this is the case, however, you should consider more affordable alternatives like Zoho People before making your purchase decision.

Here’s a quick breakdown of who will prefer each option:

You'll prefer Zenefits if:

  • You need HR software for payroll, benefits, and onboarding assistance
  • You want to automatically onboard new employees onto your software systems
  • You want to perform background checks on new hires

Try Zenefits Today

You'll prefer BambooHR if:

  • You need a solution to create and distribute job posts
  • You only need to track benefits for your company instead of selecting them
  • You do not need a robust custom report creator

Try BambooHR Today

Table of Contents

Zenefits & BambooHR Price Comparison

Overall, Zenefits is more affordable than BambooHR. Additionally, Zenefits offers payroll in its base plan while BambooHR does not.

Zenefits Pricing Details

Zenefits’ pricing starts at $10 per month per user. It is one of the more affordable human resource software systems on the market today. Payroll, advisory services, and onboarding your own broker to the platform cost an additional $6, $10, and $5, respectively.


Price per Month per UserFeatures
  • Core HR
  • Time tracking
  • Integrations
  • Everything in Essentials plan
  • Compensation management
  • Performance management
  • Everything in Growth plan
  • Well-being
  • Employee engagement surveys

BambooHR Pricing Details

BambooHR’s pricing starts at $99 per month for 12 employees. Each additional employee is $8.25 per month.

If you want to run payroll for your employees, you will need to pay an extra $75 per month for 10 employees. Each additional employee is $4.25 per month.

Finally, performance management and time tracking features are an additional $4.25 and $3.00 per employee per month, respectively.

Zenefits & BambooHR Feature Comparison

Overall, Zenefits has stronger features than BambooHR. BambooHR, however, offers applicant tracking features such as job post distribution and applicant pipelines.

For a full analysis of each solution’s features, read our Zenefits review and BambooHR review.

Job post distributionNoYes
Employee onboardingYes (stronger)Yes
Performance managementYesNo
Expense managementNoNo
Time TrackingYesYes
Compliance SupportYesYes
BenefitsYes (stronger)Yes
Custom reportsYesYes


BambooHR’s strongest point is its applicant tracking capabilities for recruiting new employees. Zenefits offers no native recruiting features. BambooHR, however, allows you to create and mass distribute job posts as well as customize candidate pipelines.

BambooHR Job Post Creation

Above is an example of creating and editing a job post in BambooHR. Once you’ve created your post, you can choose to distribute it directly to Glassdoor and Indeed.

Although BambooHR’s recruiting features are strong, its direct alternatives come with additional perks. Sage HR and Zoho People both allow you to customize your scorecards and candidate pipelines, for example. We recommend you consider these solutions as well if recruiting features are important to you.

Employee Onboarding

Employee onboarding is more robust in Zenefits than in BambooHR. This is because Zenefits can help you set up your new hire’s onboarding documents, payroll, and software accounts. BambooHR mainly assists with sending documents to newly hired employees. Both applications can assist your business with onboarding your employees through their documents, payroll, and benefits.

Zenefits Onboarding Assistance

Above is an example of the onboarding process in Zenefits. It is similar to Gusto and Justworks in that you can set offer letters, hiring agreements, or any other necessary documents to be automatically sent to your new hire. You can also set up your employee’s payroll and health benefits.

BambooHR’s onboarding assistance, however, mainly comes in the form of sending documents to new hires. Although you can create and assign tasks in BambooHR, there are no buttons that redirect you to complete tasks. This means that setting up onboarding assistance will be more difficult and limited for BambooHR customers.

BambooHR Onboarding Tasks

Zenefits can also conduct background checks, unlike BambooHR. You can run Standard and Premium checks. The Premium check expands the Standard check to include all counties of residence in the past seven years.

Here are the points covered with Zenefits’ background checks:

  • SSN
  • National criminal records
  • Sex offender list
  • Address history
  • County criminal records

Finally, Zenefits can automatically create accounts or send invitations for common software your company uses. Zenefits can onboard new hires for the following software solutions:


The benefits management capabilities in Zenefits are stronger than in BambooHR. This is because BambooHR only allows you to track benefits. Zenefits, however, assists you in choosing benefits and offering them to your employees.

Zenefits supports benefits in all states except Hawaii. Compare this with Gusto and Justworks, which offer benefits in 39 states and all 50 states respectively.

Zenefits Benefits

Seen above is Zenefits’ benefits dashboard. Here you can track your team’s benefits and track employee and employer contributions.

Zenefits offers a number of plans for the following:

  • Medical
  • Dental
  • Vision
  • Commuter
  • Health savings account (HSA)

Contrast this with BambooHR, which does not allow you to select any benefits. Instead, you can only organize the plans your company already offers. This means that BambooHR is best suited for companies that already have their benefits set up.

BambooHR Benefits

Time Tracking

Time tracking in Zenefits and BambooHR works well for both salaried and hourly employees. This is because both applications, unlike Justworks, support self-service time clocking. Zenefits does, however, offer a more curated experience in creating paid-time-off (PTO) policies. This is helpful for new businesses who are beginners to PTO policies and their requirements.

Zenefits Paid Time Off Policy Assistance

In both Zenefits and BambooHR, you can clock in through their respective desktop or mobile applications. This is advantageous for workers who need to clock-in outside of an office environment such as field service management employees.

Zenefits makes it easier for new businesses to create PTO policies. This is because Zenefits offers a general summary of pre-made PTO policies you can use at your company. An example is seen below.

You can create as many PTO policies as you require in both Zenefits and BambooHR. Common policies include:

  • Sick days
  • Vacation
  • Bereavement
  • Jury duty
  • Floating holidays

Once you've created your new PTO policy, you can define entitlement, accrual methods, applicability, and restrictions in both software solutions.

Compliance Assistance

We recommend Zenefits over BambooHR if compliance assistance is important for your business. This is especially true for newer businesses who require assistance.

Zenefits’ compliance assistance is similar to Gusto, in that it provides a checklist of actionable tasks you must complete to stay compliant with state and federal laws. You can also store important employee forms including I-9s, W-2s, and electronic signatures. We recommend considering Justworks if compliance assistance features such as free training courses are a priority for you.

Zenefits Compliance Checklist

Seen above is Zenefits’ compliance dashboard. You can visualize important legal steps and deadlines your company must handle.

Zenefits also automate several compliance tasks for your company. These tasks include:

  • Calculating, remitting, and filing taxes
  • Creating and formatting W-2s and 1099s
  • Tracking changing tax laws
  • Tracking time for lunches and breaks for hourly employees


Creating and accessing reports is similar in both Zenefits and BambooHR. Both applications do not allow you to preview your reports before exporting them. Because of this, we recommend Gusto or Zoho People if you need HR software with strong custom report creation.

Zenefits Report Creator

Both come with a number of pre-made reports, including:

  • Benefits usage
  • Headcount
  • Salary history
  • Turnover


Zenefits and BambooHR both offer a number of popular integrations. Both solutions primarily integrate with accounting, field service management, document management, and integration software. Here are some of the most popular native integrations both solutions offer:

Software SolutionIntegrations

Bottom Line

Overall, we strongly recommend Zenefits over BambooHR if you’re in need of a full-fledged and easy to use human resource software solution. Each feature Zenefits offers is stronger than its counterpart in BambooHR.

BambooHR is helpful for small businesses who need an HR software solution for recruiting. If this is the case, however, you should consider more affordable alternatives like Zoho People before making your purchase decision.

If you’re interested, visit Zenefits or BambooHR today to get started.

Yousef Fatehpour

Yousef Fatehpour is a Junior Research Analyst at SoftwarePundit. He graduated from University of California, San Diego, where he studied Human Centered Design and Communications. His work at UCSD's Design Lab emphasized UX research and product management.

Yousef's primary areas of interest are software design, user journeys, and how user experience is handled across software markets. Yousef also has experience in product design and multimedia content production. You can connect with Yousef on LinkedIn.

Yousef is an expert in several software categories including:

  • SMS marketing software
  • Document management software
  • Human resource software
  • Applicant tracking software
  • Design software

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