HR Systems for SMB’s – Small Price – Great Features – Interview with CEO of Bamboo HR

One of the interesting aspects of the business world is the the Small and Medium Business Market is often ignored or left to struggle with hard to use or inefficient tools (e.g. MS Excel). For instance, one of the largest SHRM groups at the annual conference this year was “HR of One.” 

This is opening a new market which is pretty interesting as a lot of the Big HR players (e.g. Oracle, SAP) have great solutions for Mid-Cap and higher – but their solutions have difficulty scaling down in terms of price. 

This is leaving a population on the table, and needless to say, some money. How much money? Try out the fact that there are over 23 Million Small businesses! I was blessed with the opportunity to interview Ben Peterson who is the Founder and CEO of BambooHR – which is Saas tool designed to appeal to this market!

1. First of all, Ben – tell the readers a bit about yourself.
I’m just a normal guy who is lucky to work with some exceptional people. I’m a husband and father. I enjoy mountain biking, climbing mountains (nothing like Everest), and a delicious piece of chocolate cake more often than I should. I also love starting and growing businesses with talented people. The greatest benefit of starting a business is being able to pick the people you work with.

2. Why HR?
We are passionate about growing people. We felt that too many companies only give lip service to the fact that ’employees are our most important asset,’ but don’t act that way. Human resources is an often ignored area that we wanted to shine a big spotlight on, and say, “Look! Look at what you can really do here!” Merging our experiences and passion about people with our technical abilities, we wanted to create a way to truly help people do meaningful work.

3. The HRMS and Talent Space is a very busy space from a vendor perspective, so why get into the space?
Along with our passion for helping people grow, in 2008, we saw a real gap in HR offerings between enterprise software and the small to medium business (SMB) market. Most companies needing to get out of spreadsheets can’t pay tens of thousands for a large, expensive ERP system. Nor should they! We saw with BambooHR a great opportunity to take our development experience and fill the huge need of HR software in that market.

4. Given the business of the space, what delineates BambooHR from competitors?
We went out the gate with the intent to delight customers with refreshingly simple and

affordable software.  I should note that we began with a focus on core HRIS, while others mostly began with payroll and then tried to solve core HR needs. We essentially win deals on product, price, and experience. Nitty gritty details that differentiate us from the others are our open API that allows 3rd party vendors to connect, our native iOS and Android app that has been available for about a year now, our customization functionality, global features (multi-language, localization, multi-currency, etc.), permissioning, and our recently launched applicant tracking system. This functionality with our affordability can’t be beat.

5. Out of everything you do, what are some of the coolest innovations that you’all came up with (Brag on your team!!)
Wow – this question makes me smile. The great part is that I’m not the only one bragging. We get more customer love than we know what to do with. Here’s some proof: We raced to nail an awesome mobile app and did it. Our team was phenomenal in its execution and ability to create an awesome experience. Also, every 3rd party integrator raves about how easy our APIs are, and more and more companies bolt on every day. I’m especially proud of our support and implementation teams that innovate continuously to delight customers and remove the pain of getting up and running with BambooHR.

6. Who is your target market? Is there some areas that Bamboo would not be a good solution (Global? Industry?)
Our target market is any company with human resources data on a spreadsheet. We really shine in the sub 500 employee space but also work for larger companies. We are in over 70 countries, and tech firms are typically faster adopters of BambooHR. A few fun clients include Shopify, Pinterest, Klout, Fab, Mashery, and Squarespace. However, as much as it’s fun to win well-known companies, some of my favorites include the catering firm in Texas, the shipping company in Omaha, the medical group in Florida, and a restaurant in Seattle.

7.  Lastly, any advice you would give a HR practitioner?
Yes, please remember that you do incredibly meaningful work. You touch the business in so many significant ways. While it’s true that much goes unnoticed, it doesn’t erase the fact that you simply get things done. Also, you have core competencies just like a business does. So, outsource whatever is not core—this includes your spreadsheets. Whether it’s BambooHR or any other HR software technology that can make your company better, smarter, and faster, go find it and use it.

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