Charlie vs BambooHR:

What's Better For UK Startups & SMBs?

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CharlieHR vs BambooHRCharlieHR vs BambooHR

This page will compare BambooHR VS CharlieHR, so you can choose the right HR software for your UK startup. See how Charlie and Bamboo compare when it comes to HR admin features, UK SMB compatibility, pricing, user experience and more.

Why is CharlieHR the best fit for startups and small businesses?

Choosing the right HR software is all about understanding what your company needs. At Charlie, we've always focused on helping small businesses and startups based in the UK, because we know they have very different HR needs compared to larger, international businesses.

Charlie's features are specifically designed to:

  • Reduce the time you spend on admin (we know you have already too much on your plate!)
  • Offer you all the tools you need to automate HR, at a price you can afford
  • Give you the peace of mind that you're complying with UK law

Continue reading for an in-depth comparison of how Charlie and Bamboo meet these needs.

HR admin: let's compare

When it comes to core HR features, Bamboo and Charlie are very similar.

Both Charlie and Bamboo free you from human resources admin and make employee performance management easier with features like time-off approval processes, self-serving onboarding, offboarding workflows and automated employee reviews.

On top of that, Charlie also includes probation period tracking and probation reviews (not included in BambooHR’s platform).

Why UK companies choose Charlie

Charlie is made for UK small businesses. All settings, support hours and compliance advice are optimised for UK startups, whilst BambooHR is designed for US companies and does not integrate UK settings.

James, GoSquared

Using Charlie has saved me so much time and energy. No one wins when I am spending hours on admin tasks every week… Now, I have more time to focus on my most important work.

— James, GoSquared

Charlie is made for UK startups whilst Bamboo is optimised only for US companies. Bamboo’s software solution uses US settings, date formats and terminology that can’t be amended. It does not integrate UK holidays into time-off calendars.

Charlie’s product is optimised to comply with UK employment laws and people HR trends. From integrating UK holidays into employees’ calendars to using UK-specific terminology and date formats.

Charlie’s customer support hours are also UK-friendly so you can get assistance when you need it. Bamboo’s support hours are in the MT time-zone only; meaning you may miss out on help in moments of need.

Plus, Charlie is itself a small UK SaaS startup! Our team empathises with your HR needs because we experience similar challenges running and scaling a small company. We understand the UK HR landscape inside out and this knowledge helps us build the best solution for UK SMBs.

Employee engagement features: let's compare

Charlie wants to help small companies craft exceptional company cultures and employee feedback is key to improving this. 

With BambooHR you can send employees NPS surveys (only available on premium packages). With Charlie, you can gather richer insights from employees by sending weekly, research-backed micro polls on topics like wellbeing and engagement. 

On top of that, with Charlie’s Perks you can offer all employees discounts from 30,000+ brands like Apple and Sky.

Charlie’s Perks and poll templates are included in all packages, no matter the size of your team.

Charlie: made with small businesses in mind

You don’t need to be an HR expert to do great HR. Charlie’s software was built precisely to help small businesses make HR effortless: each one of its features is there to make managing HR as simple and easy as possible.

Affordable and transparent pricing

Your budget is tight, and you don’t have time for checking the small print over and over — that’s why choosing an HRIS with clear, transparent pricing is so important.

At Charlie, we don’t hide anything from you: our pricing brackets are clearly stated on our website. You pay based on your team size, with no need to worry about hidden fees or add-ons. Plus, we designed our pricing to be as affordable as possible for growing small businesses, starting from £5 per month. 

1-4 team members

£5 per month

5-14 team members

£40 per month

15-29 team members

£100 per month

30-49 team members

£170 per month

50-99 team members

£300 per month

100-149 team members

£400 per month

150-199 team members

£500 per month

200-249 team members

£600 per month

250+ team members

£700 per month

Small business HR support

Charlie’s HR Advice service (at an additional price) is also perfect for UK startups in need of expert, 1:1 advice to stay compliant with UK HR laws, set up optimal HR processes and craft an exceptional company culture from the ground up. All without having to hire a full time HR person. 

Easy and intuitive HR software

We know you need to be quick and agile. That’s why Charlie’s platform is easy to use and can be rolled out quickly and easily in just one click — without needing to do any data migrations or run complex and time consuming training sessions. 

With a 4.8 star rating on Trustpilot from user reviews, you can trust Charlie’s user-friendly interface to operate in the way you expect it to. 

Charlie fully integrates with Slack to keep everyone in your team in the loop. This includes a Slack Daily Digest and Smart Notifications so you’ll know about time-off requests, employee birthdays, and more, directly from Slack. Bamboo connects to Slack using a third-party integration which has limitations.

BambooHR — being a more complex tool for larger, international companies — requires a longer setup when you first implement it. You'll likely need to train your team on how to make the most of the platform, and that will take time.

Why is Charlie the best alternative to BambooHR?

Charlie provides everything your small business needs to run HR out the box; from self-serving employee onboarding to time-off management and automated performance reviews.

UK small business focus

Bamboo is a US-first solution, so support is only available during MA time-zone hours and all software settings are in a US format.

Engagement features to punch above your weight

You don't need a big budget to attract and retain the best talent.

With Charlie, your employees get access to 30,000+ perks from brands including Hello Fresh, Apple and Sky.

Charlie’s weekly micro-polls mean you can get frequent snapshots of how your employees feel about topics like well-being and leadership. Perks and polls are not included in Bamboo’s packages.

Slack integration

If you use Slack as your main internal comms tool, you’ll benefit from Charlie’s full Slack integration so you can get notified about employee birthdays, sick days, holidays and more. Bamboo’s Slack integration uses a third-party integration and is limited. 


What does Charlie provide businesses with beyond software?

Beyond software, Charlie can provide businesses thousands of employee perks and an HR Advice service.

Charlie believes in employee happiness. Your employees get instant access to 30,000+ perks and discounts which include deals from well-being brands like Graze and Hello Fresh, to travel & entertainment brands like Apple, Trainline and Sky. Perks are included in all Charlie’s packages at no premium price.

Charlie offers an additional HR Advice service (at an additional cost of £179-£299/month depending on company size). You get a dedicated HR expert to advise on your HR process and ensure you’re fully compliant. This service helps you get your HR processes up and running alongside your customised HR handbook.

How much does Charlie cost?

With Charlie, you get everything you need for one, simple price, depending on your team size.

  • Transparent pricing and no hidden fees: we have a fair and transparent pricing model - you can exactly know how much you’ll pay by visiting our website.
  • No set-up charges: it takes seconds to get set up with Charlie, and we don’t charge anything for it.
  • We offer a 7-day free trial which gives you access to the whole product, no card details required. 
  • You can cancel at any time.
How much does BambooHR cost?

Bamboo HR’s prices are quoted on a case-by-case basis. Software features are limited in the Essential package. There’s a premium Advantage package to access all Bamboo’s HR software tools.

Try Charlie for free

With Charlie, you have everything you need to manage your team and craft your culture – no HR experience required.

Start your 7-day trial

Make your HR effortless