BambooHR vs. ADP Workforce Now: Which service fits your needs?

HR software can help your organization save lots of time and money, as well as make data-driven decisions on things like reducing turnover, recruiting new talent, and improving employee performance. It’s for these reasons that so many companies are adopting cloud-based HR platforms to handle tasks like payroll processing, talent management, and onboarding.

According to a survey by ISG (Information Services Group) consisting of 260 companies from around the world, 46% report using a SaaS HR platform. That number is on the rise, as only 20% of companies used HR platforms just two years ago.

While it’s clear that adopting HR software will benefit your organization, the question is which platform to choose. After all, there are thousands of options out there, which makes narrowing things down a bit difficult.

Yet, two software options tend to outshine the rest when looking at user reviews for HR platforms online. In particular, BambooHR and ADP Workforce Now both consistently place at the top of HR software ‘best of’ lists. They’re both human capital management systems that enable HR professionals to manage their entire workforce from one location, but which is best?

Or, more accurately, which one is right for your business needs?

Tough Talks D

Join me as I compare BambooHR vs. ADP Workforce Now to discover the perfect HR software solution for your organization’s needs.

bamboohr-vs-adpworkforce-450×550pxWhat’s BambooHR?

BambooHR is a human resources software-as-a-service (SaaS) company headquartered in Lindon, Utah. They’ve been around since 2008 when founders Ben Peterson and Ryan Sanders unleashed it onto the HR software scene.

Their tagline is to ‘set people free to do great work,’ and the platform enables HR professionals to automate repetitive tasks and streamline workflows related to:

  • Storing employee data

  • Processing payroll

  • Recruiting new hires

  • Onboarding

  • Time tracking and benefits administration

  • Employee experience and performance

As you can see, BambooHR provides an all-in-one HR solution for organizations of all sizes.

While most HRIS (human resources information systems) programs only contain basic recordkeeping and payroll features, BambooHR is a true HCM (human capital management) system.

Besides recordkeeping and payroll, there’s an included applicant tracking system for recruiting and onboarding – as well as modules for performance management and benefits administration.

BambooHR’s dashboards are user-friendly, so it shouldn’t take too long to get the hang of how it works.

They’re renowned for being one of the most affordable programs on the market, all while not skimping on key features, which makes BambooHR an excellent choice for smaller and mid-size organizations.

While its features may not be as in-depth or robust as ADP Workforce Now, its reasonable pricing, usability, and versatility make up for it.

What’s ADP Workforce Now?

ADP (Automatic Data Processing) is one of the largest HR software vendors in the world, and the company has a rich and detailed history. The company began way back in 1949 as Automatic Payrolls, a manual payroll service founded by Henry Taub and operated by Henry and Joe Taub. In 1961, they changed their name to Automatic Data Processing, as they began to use check printers, punch cards, and early mainframe computers to provide their services. The company continued to expand its influence over the years, culminating in the release of its flagship product, ADP Workforce Now, in 2011.

The all-inclusive HR platform is a favorite amongst medium-sized businesses and large enterprises, and it’s one of the most comprehensive HCMs on the market. As of 2023, over 22,343 companies across the globe use ADP Workforce Now as their HR software of choice.

The company also offers RUN Powered by ADP, which is a popular payroll and HR data software that caters to the needs of smaller businesses. If you’re only looking for basic payroll and recordkeeping, then RUN would be a better (and more affordable) option for your business.

ADP Workforce Now contains features for the following:

  • Employee recordkeeping and reporting

  • Payroll and built-in tax compliance

  • Time tracking and attendance management

  • Employee benefits management

  • Performance management and employee experience

  • Recruiting and onboarding

  • Employee self-service portal

  • Workforce management

While all these functionalities are excellent for handling your HR functions, all these features and modules make ADP Workforce Now a bit complicated at first.

There’s definitely a learning curve involved when adopting ADP, but that’s offset by its user-friendly interface and dashboards.

ADP Workforce Now also has a fantastic mobile app that enables employees to perform self-service functions such as viewing pay stubs and tax information.

BambooHR vs. ADP Workforce Now

Now that you’re more familiar with the basics of each platform, it’s time to directly compare both systems in terms of their core HR features. I’ll be comparing and contrasting the way both platforms handle general HR management, payroll, tax filing, time tracking, and employee experience/engagement. Along the way, I’ll provide the most important pros and cons for each feature.

HR data & reporting

First, let’s take a look at how BambooHR and ADP Workforce Now handle general HR management – including recordkeeping, document storage, reporting, and analytics. Recordkeeping is a crucial aspect of human resources, so it’s important that the software you choose has lots of features for storing employee data.

The last thing you want is not to know where your employee files are should the IRS or EEOC need to see them, so having a program that compiles them all in one location is invaluable.

ADP Workforce Now HR management

ADP’s HR Dashboard contains everything you need for general HR management, including recordkeeping, new hire onboarding, policy acknowledgment, compliance tracking, reporting, analytics, and more. ADP dashboards are extremely straightforward and easy to understand due to their simple design. As a result, the program is extremely easy to navigate despite how many features it contains.

Employee profiles are effortless to edit, as you can add new information or employee status updates in just a few clicks. To make recordkeeping easier on your team, ADP comes with preconfigured new hire templates for full-time, part-time, and international employees. That means your HR team won’t have to spend more than a few minutes creating profiles for new employees.

ADP’s self-service portal is also a time saver since your employees can resolve common HR issues by themselves, such as updating contact information. You can also use your employee data to create custom reports for data-driven decision-making. In just a few clicks, you can analyze crucial metrics like your turnover, retention rates, engagement levels, and overall employee performance.

The HR Dashboard ensures that you have all the necessary records for each employee, including contact information, medical information, tax records, and other crucial documents (i.e., performance reviews, pay stubs, time cards, disciplinary actions, etc.).

On the security side, ADP is notorious for its fantastic security safeguards used to keep your employee database safe and secure.

To summarize, ADP Workforce Now’s HR management features are top-notch, especially once you get the hang of the way things work.


  • Streamlined HR workflows for record keeping, employee status changes, and compliance tracking

  • Easy custom report creation


  • Steep learning curve at first

  • Reporting features could be more extensive

BambooHR General HR Management

Now, let’s take a look at what BambooHR has to offer in terms of general HR management features. Like ADP, BambooHR features a secure employee database to contain all your vital employee records. It also has 49 built-in reports that analyze your most important employee data, and they come in very handy.

Additionally, the reports are far more visually appealing and stimulating than ADPs, which is definitely a plus.

It’s also effortless to personalize each report so your HR managers and executives can choose the layout that works best for them. Since each user can personalize their reports, you get to determine the types of insights you want to focus on, as well as which visualizations to use. As such, your recruiters can focus on new-hire retention rates and time-to-hire data, while your HR managers can focus on things like employee engagement and productivity.

Another cool perk is the reports that you use the most will automatically save to your home dashboard for easy access. You can run reports on everything from PTO usage to workforce planning and beyond.

For these reasons, BambooHR offers more robust reporting features than ADP Workforce Now. If in-depth data analysis is high on your list of what you want out of an HR system, then you may prefer BambooHR.

On the employee database side, BambooHR wins again. Their employee profiles are just as easy to read as ADPs, yet provide more visual appeal and organization.

Employee records are represented by file folders — which provide a much cleaner look than ADP’s ‘social media profile’ approach.

Just like ADP, there are also self-service options where employees can enter and update their own information, either on a PC or mobile device like an iPhone or Android. At the same time, there are safeguards in place to limit the amount of sensitive data employees can access (i.e., drug test results, background checks, EEO self-identification forms).

In short, BambooHR has some fantastic general HR features, especially for small businesses due to their affordable pricing plans.


  • Excellent reports that are fully customizable

  • Secure database that communicates with all third-party integrations


  • Software doesn’t support multi-department roles

Payroll processing

Next, let’s compare the two programs in terms of how they handle payroll. No matter the size of your organization, payroll is always a process you’ll have to contend with, which is why it helps to have an HR system that can knock it out for you.

ADP Workforce Now Payroll

Payroll is one area where ADP Workforce Now really shines. It boasts built-in tax filing, as it will automatically file federal, state, and local taxes on your behalf. Its web-based payroll provides a central location for all payroll data, including HR, benefits, and time tracking/attendance management. You won’t have to worry about making too many mistakes since ADP comes with built-in error detection, notifications, and alerts.

Also, its international compliance support is unrivaled except by Deel, another HR system that specializes in working with international teams. Yet, ADP’s included global tax and compliance features should be more than enough for most remote teams that have a few employees working in other countries.

On the employee side, the self-service portal enables staff to view pay stubs, W-2s, timesheets, and more. This will keep their minds at ease, as they can always check to confirm that their hours and pay stubs are correct.

Lastly, ADP Workforce Now will automatically report new hires to relevant state agencies, which is a great time-saving feature.


  • A simplified payroll process that works for organizations of all sizes

  • Automatic electronic tax filing

  • Employee self-service options


  • Add-on fees for time and attendance tracking

BambooHR payroll

BambooHR’s payroll may not be as extensive as ADPs, but it’s still impressive and will work for most small-to-medium-sized companies. It also features a single data source, meaning all data from time tracking, benefits, and PTO flow into the payroll module. This eliminates the chances of double data entry, which is certainly nifty.

BambooHR has built-in tax compliance and filing features, meaning it’ll handle all your local, state, and federal taxes.

Once again, the platform’s top-tier reporting features shine through here, as you’re able to create custom reports to evaluate cash flow, deductions, individual employee payroll summaries, and more.

Lastly, their payroll onboarding process is as painless as possible. Switching providers should take no more than four weeks, and BambooHR will provide you with a dedicated implementation specialist who’ll coordinate with you every step of the way.


  • Ease of use

  • Excellent reporting capabilities


  • No attendance feature for employees

Talent management

Next, let’s see how BambooHR and ADP Workforce Now tackle talent management, including recruiting and onboarding new hires. No organization can hope to succeed without being able to consistently source top talent, which is why this feature is a must for any HR platform.

ADP Workforce Now talent management

ADP offers flexible job postings through ZipRecruiter and also takes advantage of their smart-matching technology to always match you with the most qualified candidates. This feature is nice, as it goes a step further than most HR platforms.

However, ZipRecruiter is the only job board you can automatically post to with ADP, which is a downgrade from other platforms, including BambooHR. That doesn’t mean that you can’t automatically post jobs to social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook, just that you won’t be able to access additional job boards like Glassdoor and Indeed.

Reporting-wise, you can discover your cost-to-hire and time-to-hire metrics through ADP. ADP provides a smooth onboarding process through its streamlined workflows and built-in training courses. You’ll gain access to thousands of courses and curated catalogs on dozens of topics to help train your new hires and assist with their personal development.

Lastly, ADP contains automated 1:1 check-ins, feedback surveys, and performance review templates to help keep your engagement levels up.


  • Smart-matching technology through ZipRecruiter

  • Extensive compensation planning features


  • Initial steep learning curve

BambooHR Talent Management

BambooHR has a built-in applicant tracking system to help you find the most qualified candidates for your open positions. The platform lets you share open positions with the most popular job boards like Glassdoor, Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and on social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. These options are more comprehensive than ADPs, which is certainly noteworthy.

BambooHR’s onboarding features are also impressive, as HR managers can fully customize new hire packets any way they want. New hire packets include checklists to ensure that you don’t forget any key aspects of the onboarding process, such as team introductions or employee training courses.

If you aren’t sure how you want to fashion your new hire packet, there are plenty of preconfigured templates to choose from — which will help get your creative juices flowing. Besides recruiting and onboarding, BambooHR has off-boarding features for employees on their way out.

You can send exit questionnaires, automate repetitive tasks, and create checklists to ensure you don’t forget anything.


  • Recruiting, onboarding, and off-boarding features

  • The ability to instantly post to job boards and social media platforms


  • Engagement features aren’t in-depth enough

Customer support and pricing

Lastly, we still need to compare each platform in terms of their customer support and pricing plans. If an HR system has poor customer support, all it takes is one issue to bring your operations to a screeching halt.

ADP Workforce Now support and pricing

ADP is well-known for its excellent customer support, with a knowledgeable support staff that’s always willing to help. Support is available over the phone, and they have a troubleshooting section on their website designed to fix common issues.

On the pricing side, ADP Workforce Now is tough to quantify, as they don’t provide actual numbers for each plan, making it very ambiguous. To put a number to each plan, you’ll need to contact their sales team.

  • Select. Their most basic plan, including features, is limited to general HR management and payroll.

  • Plus. This plan yields everything from the ‘Select’ plan, plus benefits administration and time-saving automation.

  • Premium. Their most comprehensive offering, the Premium plan, includes everything from the ‘Plus’ plan and adds automated time tracking and attendance.

BambooHR support and pricing

BambooHR takes the cake in terms of customer support, as they have an award-winning team available by chat, phone, and email at all times. As a bonus, you always speak with a live representative who’s trained on BambooHR, even during the online chat.

Additionally, the company provides each new user with data templates, slides, and emails to introduce the platform to everyone in your organization.

They also assign implementation specialists who will help you successfully onboard the program.

Pricing-wise, BambooHR is one of the most affordable options on the market.

Here’s an overview of its two available pricing packages:

  • Essentials. This is their basic offering, as it includes basic HR functions like document storage, a company calendar, and optional add-ons to include payroll and performance management. It starts at $5.25 per month.

  • Advanced. Their premium offering includes everything in the Essentials package, plus additional features like the applicant tracking system, access to the BambooHR Open API, advanced reports, audit trails, and more. It starts at $8.75 per month.

Final thoughts: BambooHR vs. ADP Workforce Now

At this point, you’ve seen how each platform handles crucial HR tasks like recruitment, HR management, onboarding, payroll, and record keeping. The only question left is, which HR software system is right for you?

I think I can summarize things pretty nicely.

If you’re a larger organization after an all-in-one HR solution that can handle everything, it’s worth looking into ADP Workforce Now. For smaller companies looking for an affordable, user-friendly HR platform, BambooHR won’t disappoint in the slightest.