Honest Review:
BrightHR

Multifunctional HR solution with a separate free time tracking app that may be unreliable in capturing hours occasionally.

Written by Asim Qureshi
By Asim Qureshi, CEO Jibble

As a CEO of a time tracking software company, I need to know what my competitors are up to. That means I’m often researching about and/or playing around with their products… you know, it’s part of the job. Here, I share my findings from that research, giving credit to those competitors where credit is due and being honest about which products I believe you really need to avoid. And so, there you have it, this BrightHR review. And in it, I try to be honest, fair, and insightful.

This Review Covers:

Overview

BrightHR is a human resources software for small and medium-sized enterprises by Bright HR Ltd. This software has been around since 2015, and promises to transform how businesses manage their people, save them money, and help them grow with software plans tailored to their needs.

 It also claims to help control costs, navigate the ever-changing work legislation landscape, and put a spotlight on staff well-being with a platform built for all users, not just HR folks. It can be used on desktop and mobile devices, giving users some freedom concerning where and when they can work.

BrightHR has a wide variety of features that address a lot of work aspects that can be divided into four major categories: human resource management, health and safety, employment law, and employee well-being and support. But the feature I’m most interested in, naturally, is its time tracking solution. For this, Bright HR has a dedicated app called Blip, which supposedly makes time tracking a breeze with two ways to clock in, makes hours in line with the law, enables remote work, and keeps timesheets accurate and payroll-ready at all times. 

But aside from time tracking, timesheets, and payroll, BrightHR also offers a whole battalion of features designed to make work processes and experiences easier and better.  These include schedule and time off management, expense tracking, recruitment and onboarding, risk management and incident reporting, employment law and health safety advice, and employee assistance and counseling among others.

I love its ease of use and affordability. The wealth of features is impressive and shows that a lot of thought went into making BrightHR. I also like that the time tracker isn’t lumped in with the rest of the features, but gets its own app with Blip that allows users to track time from the comfort of their own smartphones. That separation makes it convenient, non-confusing, and more focused. Best of all, Blip is free!

But not everything is bright with BrightHR — it has its fair share of flaws, too. First and most important for me is that Blip can be inconsistent in tracking time and locations, leading to problems with payroll. This is a big red flag for me, knowing the importance of reliable and accurate time tracking. It also has bugs that randomly clock people out, or prevent them from clocking in successfully on their mobile phones. 

In addition to that, BrightHR needs a stable internet connection to work, which makes it less than ideal for use by field staff, on-the-ground crew, and similar employees who may be in low to no internet connection environments on the regular. It can also be glitchy at times and is quite heavy on the battery.

And to make matters worse, their cancellation and renewal policies seem to cause a lot of frustration among disgruntled users who feel like they didn’t get their money’s worth, decrying awful service and other awful things on review sites such as Trustpilot, particularly on the one- and two-star reviews.

But looking back on the bright side, I love the swift and easy onboarding process, and the helpfulness of reps tasked to make that happen. The ease of integration into existing workflows and IT ecosystems is also a huge plus.

Now, before we make any judgments on BrightHR, let’s first have a closer look at what it has to offer and its limitations so you can see for yourself if it is something that you’d consider using. So without further ado, let’s dive right in!

 

Graphic showing a composite of BrightHR functions.

What Do Users Like About BrightHR?

  • Ease of use
  • Swift and easy onboarding with responsive reps
  • Effortless integration with existing workflows and IT ecosystems
  • Dedicated time tracker app
  • Fuss-free interface
  • Comprehensive leave and time off management
  • Value for money

What Don't Users Like About BrightHR?

  • Inconsistent tracking of time and locations
  • Signing in from mobile phones can be difficult or downright impossible at times
  • Random clock-outs from the mobile app
  • Does not have offline functionality
  • Bugs and glitches
  • Heavy battery consumption
  • Cancellation and renewal policies cause friction and frustration
  • Reports need more depth and precision

What Pricing Plans Does BrightHR Offer?

BrightHR offers their HR software beginning at $8 per employee per month for a minimum of three employees. Features include staff holiday planner & booking system, shifts and rotas planning, absence management software, overtime tracker, expense and mileage tracker app (PoP), clocking and timekeeping (Blip), CPD accredited e-learning and LMS, online marketplace and employee perks, HR document management, payroll navigator, and custom reporting.

The BrightHR health and safety software starts at $5 per employee per month for teams composed of a minimum of three employees and allows users to enjoy risk assessment software, accident and near miss reporting, task management and reporting, and CPD and ROSPA accredited e-learning and LMS.

Both BrightHR options can be purchased together starting at $11 per employee per month for a team composed of at least three employees. This paired option combines all the features of both solutions.

Prices for the BrightHR HR software, health and safety software, or the paired solution option vary depending on the number of employees who will be using it. 

For more specific tailoring of features, BrightHR offers custom quotes according to the number of employees and feature requirements. Features are grouped into seven categories from which prospective users can choose at least one, namely time tracking, absence management, shifts and rotas, document storage, recruitment, health and safety, and expense tracking. The number of employees and feature requirements can be specified on their quote request page, and quotes are sent privately via email.

What are the Standout Features of BrightHR?

1. Time Tracking

Time tracking is the most important aspect for me in any software that I review. As previously mentioned, BrightHR gives users a separate time-tracking app called Blip that comes free with the HR solution.

BrightHR’s Blip app allows users to track time from their mobile phones using geofenced locations with virtual boundaries or QR code scanning. The geofence option prompts users to clock in when they enter the area and clock out when they leave it, allowing for greater accountability across the ranks. QR code scanning is useful for on-site operations and allows easy clocking in and out using a unique QR code that can be printed and displayed in the workplace. And when enabled by admins, users can also clock in and out on the go complete with location capture, which is handy for field staff, transport crews, and similar teams.

With Blip, Bright HR records working hours and locations, tracks overtime, ensures that staff takes law-mandated breaks with reminders and notifications, and saves work history records according to FLSA standards, with the option for export. 

The geolocation feature of BrightHR’s Blip app also means that admins have real-time visibility of where employees are. This is very useful in ensuring that workers on the clock stay where they are supposed to be. Aside from that, Blip also shows who’s on break, and who’s out for the day.

The data captured by Blip is automatically translated into timesheets that can be reviewed and modified on BrightHR, saving admins time that is usually spent agonizing over manual entry.

Composite graphic showing the geolocation and QR scanning log-in options of BrightHR's Blip App on two mobile phone screens.

2. Payroll Navigator

Timesheets are only useful if they can be translated into payroll with ease. BrightHR allows employers to pay workers their hard-earned dues based on timesheet data and stay compliant with HMRC legislation with its payroll navigator.

The BrightHR payroll navigator allows users to store employees’ payroll details in one secure place for convenient access. It also generates and allows downloads of payroll reports so that users can supply accurate details to HMRC.

Payroll reports are important in ensuring that employees receive the right amount of compensation for their work. While recording hours and translating them to wages using rates is a fairly straightforward process, factors such as time off and sick days complicate the process. BrightHR helps users navigate these complications with a range of payroll reports that include absence, annual leave summaries, staff information, and payroll exception reports.

Aside from that, BrightHR also helps users factor in PAYE deductions, tips, bonuses, allowances, statutory sick pay, maternity pay, auto-enrolment pension, and more to payouts. If all of that isn’t quite enough yet and payroll questions still linger, users are given access to the BrightAdvice helpline which connects them with legal experts Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 

Composite graphic of a woman working with a computer superimposed with a screenshot of the BrightHR payroll navigator feature.

3. Shifts and Rotas

BrightHR streamlines the creation and distribution of shifts and rotas. Using the shift scheduling and rota planning software, managers can create work schedules in a simple table layout in a matter of clicks, assign shifts, copy schedules, and duplicate rotas across multiple days and employees in minutes, use filters to find and edit any employee’s shifts, and automatically inform everyone of new schedules and rota or any changes to existing ones with notifications. 

With BrightHR, employers can also kiss dropped shifts and last-minute no-shows goodbye with the open shifts feature, which allows employees to pick up extra shifts with ease. Managers only need to release unfilled shifts, and staff are automatically notified with real-time alerts. They can then pick up vacant shifts according to their availability and preferences. For more focused shift distribution, admins can also decide who among their staff can accept or decline shifts.

Best of all, creating and managing shifts and rotas can be done wherever there’s an internet connection with the BrightHR mobile app, so admins can find and implement scheduling solutions anytime, anywhere.

Composite graphic of superimposed screenshots of the BrightHr shifts and rotas feature on web and mobile

4. Leave, Time Off, and Absence Management

BrightHR simplifies the long-winded process of requesting leaves and time off into four very easy steps: staff submits a time off request in a matter of a few clicks using the app, employers are instantly notified of the request, the system flags any scheduling clashes to ensure that businesses are never understaffed at all times, and admins can then approve or deny the request — even on the go.

Aside from easy leave management, BrightHR also empowers businesses to be compliant with time off and leave legislation by doing all the calculations of leave entitlements and statuses.

In case unexpected life events prevent employees from showing up on time or showing up at all, BrightHR has a suite of absence management features to help employees and employers navigate lateness, sick leaves, and more all in one place. 

The system logs common absences and allows users to upload and store documents, pictures, and forms for absence requests. It also generates reports from recorded absence data to identify trends. Plus, BrightHR gives visibility to employee availability so dropped shifts can be covered with ease.

But what I love the most about this suite of features is that it recognizes that it recognizes that sometimes, lateness and absences are more than just that — sometimes, they’re symptoms of something deeper. To help with this, BrightHR gives them access to leading employee assistance programs that may help them deal with personal challenges so they can eventually bounce back and return to an optimal state of productivity.

Composite graphic of the BrightHR time off management feature showing its mobile view superimposed with cropped screenshots highlighting elements of the feature.

5. Employment Law Support

There will inevitably be legal and HR questions that businesses will struggle to answer on their own. To ensure that these important questions are answered correctly, they often have to consult or hire expensive solicitors. That is not a sustainable model for SMEs. 

To help businesses with their legal advice needs, BrightHR connects them with legal advisors who provide them with expert employment law advice via phone call to help them avoid costly mistakes, employment tribunals, and other similar headaches. 

BrightHR’s employment law assistance is available 24/7 and guaranteed confidential. Advisors won’t bombard users with legal jargon, and will always give clear and tailor-made answers to HR and legal questions any time of the day — or night.

And if talking to someone doesn’t sound quite appealing for any reason, users can access the BrightBase library of expertly-written HR policies, document templates, and guides. Users can access and download employment contracts and handbooks, how-to guides, and factsheets, along with articles on parental leave, agile working, employee management, disciplinary action, grievances, onboarding, and a lot more.

BrightHR’s BrightBase is continually updated to reflect any changes in legislation and guidance, so users are assured that any material they’re accessing is up-to-date and in line with the law. And best of all, it’s accessible from the BrightHR dashboard, so users have the power to discover answers to any HR or legal question at their fingertips at all times.

Composite graphic showing how the BrightHR employment law advice feature works. The screenshot of the user's request for legal advice is superimposed on an image of a phone call with a BrightHR legal expert.

Selected Positive User Feedback: 

  • Great interface for both staff and managers to work with.” – Richard Swan (Source TrustRadius)
  • So easy for my members of staff to book their holidays and see all of their HR files in one place.” – Richard B. (Source GetApp)
  • “Overall, a fantastic product and system. Very easy to use, and most importantly affordable for SME’s!!” – Clare H. (Source GetApp)
  • The ease and speed at which the system could be implemented and accessed is astounding considering systems that I have used in the past. The onboarding was clear and concise and as a business owner it feels like a huge weight has been lifted.” – Richard G. (Source GetApp)
  • “Makinzie Welch did our onboarding session which was friendly, helpful and informative. She explained everything in full and answered all our questions. She offered support after the session if we were stuck. The system seems very easy to use for admin and users. keeps everything HR in one place. Perfect to cover all our needs” – Jude Dune (Source TrustPilot)
  • Integration of the system into our current day to day was easy and straightforward, and training was brilliant. The platform is really easy to use.” – Faye B. (Source GetApp)
  • “It’s a really great app to track your staffs and monitor their time In and Off from work […] And while using it, I could also see what all staff ar up to, where they are and how many breaks they took in a calendar year. You can do a whole lot of things from this single app, from sharing Rotas to training staffs and setting up payments” – Elite Ogogo (Source Google Play)

Selected Negative User Feedback:

  • Inconsistent log in, doesn’t connect properly. Lots of missed log in and log out.Payroll is constantly chasing people for ‘corrections‘BLIP doesn’t give a ‘real’ time experience – users can be out the door and on their way home before the geo fence finds them. No tracking of actual activity – users can log on and off as they please with no physical activity of being on the job.” – Ron (Source GetApp)
  • “It’s alright, not being able to clock out after you’ve left the zone is really silly, so if you forget to clock out you have to remain clocked in till you get back to work the next day, clock out and request a shift adjustment. The app seems to be down a lot, not letting the entire team clock in for 2 hours, not opening at all etc. I enjoy the structure of it, being able to time your breaks and such is good but there’s more negative than positive about the app personally.” – Ruth Ferguson (Source Google Play)
  • It has some bugs. Sometimes it doesn’t clock in and out properly or will randomly clock people out.” – Julie (Source GetApp)
  • “This app has a fundamental flaw. Unfortunately, it needs an Internet connection in the background to make it work! As we all know especially rurally the network connections are patchy to say the least!!! Sometimes, even with an Internet connection, it doesn’t seem to want to connect or work. When you have a workforce that use this for their timekeeping, this is quite critical! The only way this app could possibly be any good is if it worked off-line.” – M0UJD (Source App Store)
  • Very glitchy recently. drains battery. some users not able to shift adjust. otherwise the app is OK” – Geri Murphy (Source Google Play)
  • “I am not happy with the service. They first told me that I could cancel my account and there’s not going to be any termination fee. When I closed my business, I had to pay everything until the end of the contract. They’re a bunch of liars. Service is horrible as I’ve emailed them several times and it takes weeks to get any reply from them. DO NO SIGN UP WITH THEM. UPDATE: BrightHR is threatening to sue me to take down the review. I will be sending them all the evidence and emails. This is call bully for those who post honest reviews.” – Christophe Lo (Source TrustPilot)
  • More robust reporting would be great. More training material for training purposes would be great.” – Faye S. (Source G2)

What are BrightHR's Review Ratings from Review Sites?

(As of December 2023)

  • Capterra: 4.7/5
  • G2: 4.4/5
  • Software Advice: 4.7/5
  • TrustRadius: 8.2/10
  • TrustPilot: 4.8/5 
  • GetApp: 4.7/5
  • Google Play Store: 4.3/5
  • App Store: 4.8/5

What's My Final Verdict on BrightHR?

BrightHR is a thoughtfully and beautifully designed HR software that addresses many pain points in the modern workplace. But aside from being just an HR software, it also tackles time tracking, payroll processing, scheduling, time off management, and even employment law support. Its respectable arsenal of features is designed around the concept of simplification, and the way the features function is proof of that.

The Blip time tracking app is BrightHR’s answer to the pressing need for easy time tracking for employees and is a great attempt to shift a huge chunk of the burden of attendance monitoring off of managers’ backs by automatically capturing time and location data upon logging in and out of shifts and when starting and ending breaks. The data captured by Blip is instantly reflected on a dashboard that shows managers who’s in, out, and on break in which locations. The additional layer of accountability added by geofencing and log-in photo capture reduces the risk of buddy punching and other time theft shenanigans that make businesses lose money amounting to tens of thousands of dollars annually. Punches are also automatically translated into timesheets that allow employees and management to transparently see time entries and correct them if necessary.

Paired with the payroll navigator which takes care of the number crunching from time sheets to actual wages, the Blip app aims to ensure that workers are paid their hard-earned dues by capturing every minute of every working hour. When timesheets are finally processed by the payroll navigator to factor in variables that affect pay such as deductions, statutory sick pay, mandatory holidays, and more, BrightHR then keeps records of all payroll reports for easy access and for ease of supplying correct information to HMRC.

However, the fundamental flaw in these processes lies within the BrightHR time-tracking solution itself. It can be unreliable due to bugs, glitches, and lack of internet connectivity. This leads to frustration among users who struggle to navigate its features during the times that Blip is down or acting weird. But more importantly, it affects the ability of the time tracker to do its most important job — track time accurately. And because timesheets and payroll are dependent on the information captured by the time tracker, the integrity of their output is compromised when Blip fails to function as advertised.

But on to the more positive things: the shifts and rotas features make scheduling so much easier and help ensure that all sites are manned adequately at all times. The leave, time off, and absence management features make quick work of the traditionally cumbersome process of requesting leaves and managing tardiness and absenteeism. With these suites of features, BrightHR demonstrates its commitment to simplicity and helps ensure that businesses are always on top of issues that affect attendance. If they could make the scheduling features more intuitive by listening to user’s requests for more granular customizability, they’d have an even more powerful tool to offer.

I really admire BrightHR’s commitment to actively assisting its users with two very important features. First is the employee assistance program that helps employees deal with life and its challenges with advice from mental health professionals. Second is their employment law support that empowers businesses to solve complex legal and HR questions with 24/7 phone consultations with legal experts and the BrightBase library.

Listen, I’d say that overall, BrightHR is a promising solution worth looking into if you’re in the market for something more than just the usual time tracking. It’s an all-encompassing system that takes care of many aspects of HR that would be difficult if not downright impossible to handle gracefully and easily without the help of a powerful tool such as BrighHR. That is, if you can forgive the occasional time tracking deficiencies that plague the Blip app. So if you wanna take things a step further and see for yourself if the solution they offer is compatible with your needs, go ahead and pop into their site and book a free demo today.