Zoho People vs. BambooHR – Which is right for you?

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It’s common to end up responsible for tasks outside of your comfort zone when you work for a smaller business. Often, one of these “little things” is acting as an entire human resources department. The right HR tool can alleviate much of the stress involved in managing all those threads.

Who are Zoho and Bamboo for?

BambooHR is a human resources tool best for small businesses that need help with managing the workforce. It’s a modern and intuitive solution that works well for any business that doesn’t even have a dedicated HR department. It also comes with add-ons to increase functionality as needed.

Zoho People is another HR tool built with scalability in mind. There are five paid plans suitable for all business sizes, but startups can also benefit from a free tier. Like Bamboo, People has an intuitive interface, especially for those who are familiar with Zoho products; even inexperienced HR managers will feel comfortable using it. Of course, any HR department is better than none at all.

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Both Bamboo and People offer various features, including workforce and time management, onboarding assistance, performance management, and various employee satisfaction inclusions. People’s features are a little broader; Bamboo’s narrower scope better benefits smaller businesses.

Workforce Management

One goal of an HR department is to become more familiar with the other employees. It’s hard to do this without easy access to the data. Bamboo centralizes all of its HR data in one place, combining personal information with benefits, training details, time off requests, employment status, and IT assets. It does not, however, incorporate performance management data at this stage.

While many other HR solutions only generate directories using raw employee data, Bamboo’s setup allows you to look at a worker’s specific information. This on-demand directory enables HR to be well informed when talking with an employee about work-related concerns.

People, on the other hand, comes a few additional functions. For example, it allows you to manage employee travel, rearrange your organizational structure, manage benefits administration, and offboard employees.

All of the data these online HR management tools collect can help power your analytics and create fully customizable reports about any aspect of the business. For Zoho, report generation includes generating visualizations like bar charts and pie charts.

Zoho’s most expensive plan, People Plus, gets you access to the company’s Recruiting module. This add-on introduces features like talent sourcing, background checks, and employee referral functionality to improve the recruitment and hiring processes.


Bamboo comes with excellent hiring functionality, though it’s not as comprehensive as People.

However, both create very detailed reports that allow HR to determine the most successful recruitment channels and how well the search for filling each position goes. You can easily manage job openings, review candidates, identify which stage a candidate has reached in the pipeline, and add collaborators to help you review applicants. All of this data enables you to optimize the recruiting process.

Each tool’s hiring functionality extends to onboarding employees; you can customize the onboarding process for every employee, including the tasks they must complete, the documents they must read, and the meetings they must attend.


Zoho separates itself from Bamboo at this point by dividing the onboarding process into stages: a unique approach for an HR tool.

The first stage is the Candidate View, where a user completes his tasks before a candidate’s first day at the business.

To initiate this process, you establish a hiring candidate’s login and have them enter the necessary information and complete the required steps, such as filling out tax information and provided proof of ID. This process saves lots of time otherwise spent filling out documents on the first day at work. Of course, you can customize each aspect of this stage.

As the new hire’s start date approaches, he can move on to Employee View. This stage updates the portal to display post-hire information, such as the work schedule, training, and links to important documents like the employee handbook, for both you and the candidate.

Time and Attendance

Both HR tools have time and attendance management functionality that allow you to track company leave by department or view individual calendars.

With an integrated time tracker, your employees can easily clock into work so the system can automatically keep count of the hours. Employees can then submit their timesheets with minimal effort. Zoho also offers timesheets per client and per project.

Both tools’ workforce reports track projects and clients as well as display an overview of teams and individual employees. Seeing the hours scheduled and worked side by side improves HR planning by making sure you have an optimal amount of staff on shift.

Zoho’s shift schedule capabilities allow managers to use this data to create reusable templates and determine when each employee should work when. People also integrates with other payroll solutions, directly feeding information into billing reports, but it lacks some of the more advanced time capabilities Bamboo offers.

Bamboo leverages workforce analytics and is capable of creating countless reports, including:

  • Headcount and turnover
  • Time off (schedules and balances)
  • Candidate funnel
  • Benefits
  • Employee history
  • Years of service

Best of all, you can create, edit and share any of these reports without particular expertise in data analytics, meaning you don’t need to hire a data scientist devoted to this task. As an HR manager, a tool like People or Bamboo lets you own your data, make swift changes, and stay agile in competitive industries.

Ease of Use

People’s online HR management system has the familiar Zoho look and feel, so anyone who has used their sister solutions will have no trouble adapting to it. Even if you haven’t, you shouldn’t have a problem finding your way around the interface.

The main dashboard display a quick overview and easy links to the various modules, such as new hires, company birthdays, yearly hiring and attrition, attendance, business announcements, upcoming vacations, and pending tasks. You can customize this space to prioritize the data most essential to your day-to-day operations so you can focus on important jobs.

Bamboo is relatively new to the HR tool market, which you can see in the user interface; it has a modern design with intuitive navigation.

When you start Bamboo, the software shows you a video clip of the product’s basic features and how to use them. Although it’s also an intuitive system, Bamboo could benefit from a few extra in-app tips to assist less experienced managers get started more quickly.

Still, Bamboo’s dashboard is organized clearly, highlighting crucial company information and simplifying standard tasks like time requests and job opening management.


With Bamboo, you can try the service for free for one week. During the trial, you get complete access to the full suite of features. It will pre-populate fields with options like candidate pipeline and employee information, allowing you to understand what the system can do.

When the trial ends, you must choose one of the two paid plans to continue using Bamboo; there is no free plan. The Advantage plan comes with telephone support, hiring, and onboarding functionality. But the Essentials plan comes with just the basics for less cost.

Bamboo’s cost, however, is a mystery to the public; you must get in touch with the company to get a quote for your business. This custom pricing is common practice for online HR management services, but Zoho makes People’s pricing available for anyone to see.

Rather than require you to call the sales team, Zoho displays each of its available plans for businesses. Startups can benefit from a free program while larger enterprises can scale their services with the five paid plans. Each of the paid plans offers a two-week trial for free.

Zoho’s pricing is also affordable for any business, starting at just $1 a month at the Essential stage. Of course, the least expensive plan has fewer features; the Essential system doesn’t come with time tracking, shift scheduling, or performance appraisals. The most costly pricing runs $10 per month per user, which is a reasonable demand considering the cost of not having a human resources department.

Which is the Right Tool for You?

It’s vital to choose a human resources solution that meets your company’s needs.

With Zoho People, you’ll have access to an excellent suite of features. It’s not a perfect system — Bamboo’s time and attendance capabilities are a bit more advanced — but it more than makes up for it with its other benefits: convenient pricing, an intuitive interface, and an ability to get set up fast. A business of any size can benefit from Zoho’s software.

BambooHR has a slightly more narrow focus; it doesn’t do everything, but it does a lot for smaller businesses. It makes day-to-day operations easy to complete, helping your employees be more productive at work, and combines several useful features among an instinctive UI.

Have you benefited from HR management software? Tell us about your experiences.

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