BambooHR vs. Zenefits: Stack Up and Takeaways

BambooHR and Zenefits are cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) HR solutions. Their shared specialty is storing, retrieving, and managing employee information.

Also, the two services strive to be affordable for small businesses. BambooHR offers free trials, and users laud its affordability. Zenefits gives you a demo and prices start at $5 a month.

BambooHR integrates well with any existing HR software solution, using its open API. Employee performance review functionality on BambooHR fits how most companies are working.

Besides HR, Zenefits also partners with insurance firms in all states across the US. The service is a plug-and-play solution for small businesses. It helps SMEs manage their employee health and business insurance coverage.

Comparing the Products

I’ve comprehensively reviewed BambooHR and Zenefits in this post. You’ll get a side-by-side comparison of both HR solutions.


BambooHR is a cloud-based HR software solution targeting SMBs that don’t want spreadsheets. This SaaS solution centralizes your employee data storage. So you can retrieve your HR information with ease.

The service emphasizes employee self-service and provides you with in-depth reporting. It also offers a recruiter-friendly applicant tracking system (ATS). BambooHR doesn’t offer a broad range of insurance brokerage solutions like Zenefits. But it partners with Maxwell Health for its users manage their health benefits.


Zenefits eliminates paperwork from HR processes, improves HR workflow efficiency, and reduces repetition. It does all these by centralizing all employee data on the cloud. It brings all HR services, tools, and health insurance management, into one dashboard.

Zenefits provides a cloud-based hub for HR solutions. It blends into one place

  • Payroll,
  • Employee benefits management,
  • Time and attendance,
  • and more

In addition, Zenefit users can manage their insurance benefits on the platform. The service partners with insurance firms in all 50 states across the US.

Core Differences

1.) Employee Benefits Management


BambooHR users can manage their health benefits with Maxwell Health. They can also integrate third-party solutions over its open API. BambooHR focuses on core HR solutions; a user-friendly dashboard, and easy employee self-on-boarding.

Unlike Zenefits, BambooHR doesn’t provide various solutions for employee benefits management.


Zenefits offers a robust platform for employee benefits management. It provides health and business insurance brokerage solutions to users.

Zenefits covers all industries in its insurance partnerships. It also has a presence in all 50 states in the US. These positions Zenefits as the plug-and-play solution for managing employee insurance benefits.

Bottom line

BambooHR appears to be more global in its outlook. They limited their benefits administration to their partnership with Maxwell Health. Meanwhile, Zenefits keeps a robust benefits administration network across the US.

2.) Implementation


BambooHR implementation is in three easy steps:

  • Import Data: First, import your employee data or move them from an existing HR system.
  • Customize: Customize recruiting or termination checklists, email alerts, leave policies, and more.
  • Deploy: Now, you can deploy the setup across the whole company.

For implementation support, BambooHR uses webinars and video training for its customers. It also gives customized training.


Zenefits works with their clients one-on-one for their launch. You can install Zenefits by sending your work email and name to their support team.

A support representative works with you and remains your primary contact. Throughout your setup, launch, and training, your Zenefits support rep works with you. Furthermore, the support person helps you through occasional account or software maintenance.

Bottom line

BambooHR automates most of its implementation process. And it also provides guides and training to help with the finer details of the process. Zenefits maintains a hands-on launch process. A support rep helps a customer and remains the contact person all through the process.

3.) Features


BambooHR supports global features like multiple currencies and languages. You can set email alerts to remind you of anything. And that includes benefits renewal, employee anniversaries, performance reporting, company events, and more.

Furthermore, businesses using BambooHR can leverage the tool’s performance feedback feature. They can get frequent updates on employee performance reports.

With the performance-management feature, employees can share their goals and action plans. Likewise, they can quickly receive feedback from their peers. Both employees and managers can assess employee performance.

BambooHR added new features to their suite of HR solutions in 2017. Some of the features they introduced include:

  • An improved dashboard with new features like notifications, hire widget, goals, and reports,
  • Added the Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting functionality,
  • Android mobile app,
  • Launched the Payroll functionality,
  • Job applicants email templates for individual and multiple candidates.

As a security feature, BambooHR protects their electronic signatures with enterprise-level encryption. And they always track of these signatures. As a result, these electronic signatures cut the time and money spent by HR on paperwork.


Just like BambooHR, Zenefits has an online dashboard, self-service portal, employee on-boarding. And they also reporting and analytics functionalities. The dashboard enables users easily and quickly access and retrieve employee data. It also helps them in streamlining time-consuming HR tasks such as employee on-boarding.

Some Zenefits features include:

Vacation & Paid Time Off (PTO): Businesses can design their own unique PTO policies to match their company culture.

This feature also makes it easy for employees to report sick days and request time off. Managers can easily track employee PTO and review applications.

Benefits Administration: Zenefits simplifies employee benefits management using an online portal. Users can reduce compliance risks, access resources, update information and more.

Security: Zenefits takes security seriously. They use the most advanced encryption standards. Like the 256-bit Secure Socket Layer (SSL) to protect their users’ data.

For extra security, Zenefits stores their encryption keys and data in different locations. They host their data in a secure, remote, cloud-based infrastructure.

Besides, Zenefits requires two-factor authentication for authorized personnel to access sensitive information. In fact, trained guards physically protect server hosting locations daily, throughout the year.

Zenefits also runs third-party security tests frequently. Additionally, they constantly keep watch on all their security features.

Bottom line

BambooHR and Zenefits share lots of commonalities in their core HR functions. However, their difference is that Zenefits offers benefits brokerage solutions. Plus they seem to have put extra effort into their data and infrastructure security.

Another point of difference is that BambooHR provides extensive reporting. Its users get everything. From employee peer-to-peer to managers’ feedback, highly customizable email notifications, and more.

Comparing Services and Offerings

Customer Service


BambooHR has a broader range of contact and customer service options. Customers can contact them by phone, email, social media channels, and you can even drop in at their office. BambooHR provides community support where users ask questions and shares their knowledge.


Zenefits assigns representatives to companies that manage benefits administration through them. They also provide a robust online Help Center that covers a broad range of relevant topics. They also offer telephone support.

Bottom line

BambooHR offers a broader range of contact options. They also provide an interactive resource center for users to give and gain help. Besides phone and Help Center options, Zenefits assigns support representatives to their clients.



BambooHR offers free trial and demo; it charges users per-employee-per-month. The core modules go for $4 per employee. And could reach $8 per employee per month if the company requests add-on features.


Zenefits, until 2017, offered three pricing options, now it’s two. The software company discontinued its free option, Lite HR. The Standard and Advanced pricing options are still available.

Zenefits Standard

The Standard billing option goes for $6 per employee per month (or $5 if billed annually). They also charge a $40 base fee monthly. This option covers:

  • Access to Human Resources platform. For HR records, organizational charts, hiring and onboarding, employee directory, and mobile app;
  • Business Intelligence tool,
  • Customer forms for managing employee onboarding,
  • Documents app for employee forms and records storage.

Zenefits Advanced

The Advanced billing option goes for $12 per employee per month (or $9 if billed annually). It also has a $40 base monthly charge. This option covers:

  • All the offers in the Standard option,
  • Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliance,
  • HR resource library,
  • Compliance assistance, especially for federal guidelines management and tracking,
  • Time off tracking (vacation & PTO).

Zenefits offers add-ons.

  • Payroll goes for $4 per user per month,
  • Time and Attendance for $5 per user per month, and
  • HR Advisor which goes for $5 per user per month.

The HR Advisor add-on grants customers access to a certified HR expert. This feature is for users who need extra help with their HR-related concerns.

Bottom line: BambooHR has a simple pricing plan, one without add-ons and one with add-ons. Zenefits separates add-ons from its core plans, so users can choose to pay for and use each add-on as they need them.


BambooHR and Zenefits have provided affordable solutions for their target market. Albeit, these cloud-based services have their flaws.


BambooHR strictly caters to small and medium-sized businesses. Large or small companies that outgrow the solution may need to look elsewhere. Another flaw in this software is the absence of a learning management system.


Some customers reported missing deadlines for their insurance open enrollment. They said assigned representatives were hard to reach during implementation.

Customers also complained that support representatives became distant after the launch.

Bottom line

Businesses that outgrow this service will have to replace it. Zenefits hands-on customer service using support representatives has flaws because of its inconsistency. That is to say, a client who needs urgent attention may not get it due to an absentee representative.

BambooHR vs. Zenefits Takeaways

BambooHR and Zenefits share features like

  • An online dashboard,
  • Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliance,
  • Self-service portal,
  • Employee on-boarding,
  • Reporting and analytics functionalities, and more.

Albeit, they have their differences. For example, Zenefits maintains a robust benefits management solution. But BambooHR is slim on this.

Regardless of industry, a plug-and-play benefits management solution would be Zenefits. The tool also streamlines all HR processes. And it stores employee data in a central cloud-based suite.

BambooHR is best for SMBs. It suites businesses who want a simplified HR management platform and no spreadsheets.