Online Applications & Cloud-Based HR

Online Applications & Digital HR Support

QUESTION From: Jenelle in WA

“Are you familiar with any job application apps or cloud based HR software? I’m interested in moving away from a file cabinet full of paper forms and would like to try and save some trees.”


In the interest of saving time (and trees) I took a look at some of today’s leading cloud based HR software and organized my findings to make shopping for one a little bit easier for you.

While the simplest (and most limited) form of online HR involves merely creating a Google Form and sharing the link on your restaurant’s website or social media page (perhaps even in the signature of your emails); there are some pretty robust services out there. Most of them offer the same or generally similar suite of cloud based (and mobile friendly) services like: Hiring Tools, New Hire Paperwork, Full-Service Payroll, Employee Self Service & Profiles, Directories, Health Benefits Administration, Workers’ Comp Administration, Requested & Paid-time-off records.

I’d recommend taking advantage of any of the free trials available for the platforms that look most appealing to you. 

If you’re like most businesses you’ll also want to make sure there is access for multiple admin-users.

Also, be sure to speak with customer service to see how available, responsive and helpful they are. And if you’re happy with the hardware and software / apps you’re currently using, you’ll want to speak with a rep to ensure the service you’re considering integrates seamlessly...and if they have their own apps or not. At the time of my research, some platforms did not.

(UPDATE 4.10.9) Workforce OS (Operating System) by Harri

cost:? (just learning about it now…

Workforce OS by Harri is a total-talent solution for hospitality. Comprising 30+ modules, businesses can streamline the process of building and managing teams that support the entire employee lifecycle. Source, hire, onboard, develop, schedule, manage time & attendance, and use powerful analytics to optimize your workforce on a single app. With 400,000 job seekers and 9,000 employers, the Workforce OS is a best in class platform for organizations looking to solve their labor-related challenges. Description by


cost: FREE

A very popular All-In-One HR solution software for on-boarding and new hire paperwork to compliance and employee updated info / request time-off features.


cost: 6-$12per employee/mo. 

+ $40-$150base cost / mo.

(Benefits, 401k, Tax-Advantage Spending Accounts, Direct Deposit, Workman’s Comp features also avail for little to no additional charge).

3 main packages to choose from that include all the usuals but allow you to cater the service to your indiv needs a bit more:

The higher-level plans include: Admin permissions, Employee Offers & On-Boarding, Simple & time tracking,PTO policies & Time-off requests, Employee Directory & Surveys.

No apps found.


cost: Starting at $99/mo.

$6-$12 per employee/mo.

Great reviews online for Bamboo. Also governs the entire employee lifecycle but seems to have some additional features that medium - large or multi-unit operators might appreciate like dashboard monitoring of available positions and hiring tools that synch with other prof/social media platforms. Better reviews re: intuitive interface with “modern and well-organized feature suite”. Reports include turnover and retention rates.

Zoho People

cost: approx $1-$4per employee/mo.

A lot like Bamboo with fewer possible reports to run. A little different from Bamboo in that one it has a separate section just for managing and monitoring attendance and leaves of absences.


cost: Starting at $46/mo.

$5-$9per employee/mo. 

+ $40 base

(Additional services ranging from $4-$8per employee/mo.)

Billed as “more than a platform”...Zenefits touts the fact that, in addition to a vast HR resources library, their experts offer one on one advisory services for more involved questions & issues as well.


cost: Starting at $200/mo.

“call for a quote”

HR. Reputedly one of the beat if not THE best HR software for international needs since they Cezanne’s comprehensive and highly configurable (is that a word? “customizable”?) software is GDPR-compliant and stacked with 10 different languages. Every article, video and review suggests that these guys take customer guidance / support seriously.


cost: Starting at $10/mo.

Cost for BOTH services (sliding scale)

25 employees:  $100/mo

50 employees:  $140/mo

75 employees:  $210/mo

100 employees: $280/mo 

Although Excel files can be shared, documents uploaded and calendars shared across the platform, Calamari seems to be a two trick pony...but the two tricks are pretty damn cool...especially if you’re only interested in Time tracking (clock-ins & clock-outs) and Paid Time Off (PTO) tracking. 

These guys apparently integrate with  lots of calendars for the latter and for the former, offer “action-free” clocking in and out by employees via iBeacon technology, QR code scanner and “other useful clocking methods”. 

Calamari also supports international and work-from home businesses with 5 language stacks.


cost: “Call Us”

Didn’t dig too deeply into this one. Seems like another build-your-own HRIS integration platform where you only pay for the mods you use or connect the HR software you’re already using. 

They write: “Unify all your software in one single integration platform that not only increases employee engagement but on a practical note, it also stores employees’ data safely and gives you access to all employees’ personal data in one click, such as salary, bank account details, positions held, diplomas, bonuses… “

They offer customizable reports and dashboards as well for “thousands of employees” so I automatically assumed they were for larger businesses.


cost: ?

Quick Base seems like a “build-your-own app” type of fast, powerful and dynamic central repository for storing all your HR data; from employee records to the tracking of HR projects and key metrics with a variety of report types from summary reports to charts, maps, calendars, and timelines.

You can “Start building an app from scratch or find a pre-built app in their Exchange and learn how to customize it without coding via their online training portal, Quick Base University.”

Sounds a little more involved and robust than most SMBs might need or want.

These folks have big clients - like Google, Sprint, Southwest and SiriusXM.

Talent Reef

cost: “Contact Us”

An all-in-one suite that seems well suited for restaurants and other businesses managing an hourly workforce.

TalentReef not only showcases on-line / social recruiting and on-boarding but also sorting of applicants based on pre-determined preferences Seems well suited 

From their website:

“...operators find, hire, train, and manage their most valuable asset—talent. The Company's mobile-optimized HR platform (Social Recruiting, ATS, Onboarding, Training and Development, Performance Management, and Analytics) is transforming the way Millennials and Generation Z are connecting on-demand with employers globally. Leading companies across multiple service industry verticals like Focus Brands, Flynn Restaurant Group, QuickChek, LBA Hospitality, Gelson’s Markets, and Hansen’s IGA trust talentReef to optimize their Operational and HR functions on a daily basis.”

The website is clean and intuitive so I’d imagine the platform is as well. TalentReef is on my call list.


cost: Approx $15-$30per employee/mo.

+one time fee of $50-$80 per empl.

It looks like Namely offers most of the general services and integrations it’s competitors offer but differentiates themselves by having an interface and user experience that mimics the look and feel of social media networks in order to entice employees to jump on and use it. 

Seems a little more “socially interactive” in that it seems employees can “appreciate peers” and answer their own HR questions while admins can join conversation groups in Namely’s “client community” of other users.



Onboarding $79-$150/mo.

ATS $99-$158/mo.

Workbright is a digital mobile friendly service that specializes in getting new hire paperwork completed online (with tools for employees to photograph and upload certificates, licenses, etc...)

Work right also employs a custom error detection system that notifies an employee when incorrect data is entered or data is missing and automatically emails them what is wrong and how to fix it... as well as follow up reminders until it’s done.

Workbright also has a ATS panel that allows you yo instantly post jobs and review applications from over 500 job posting sites.


cost: Starting at $50/mo.

Glint - It might sound like an oxymoron but Glint appears to be the AI HR and the data mining, LinkedIn lovers (looks like they have a partnership with LI or some other association) of the automated HR world.

Glint offers employees feedback at every touchpoint along the employees life cycle from onboarding and training to exit interviews.

These “pulse surveys” utilize standard questions or allow you to ask your own. 

Glint gives HR teams, leaders, and managers on-demand access to employee feedback from non-human sources and seems to offer an illusion of anonymity to employees to encourage honesty so that management can glean insights from the collected data in order to focus on potential engagement or productivity issues.

From their website:

“Glint's AI-for-HR™ technology uses predictive analytics and machine learning to generate real-time alerts for employee populations at risk of increased attrition, decreased performance or changes to other key performance indicators...Customizable onboarding survey content covers topics like recruitment, training, role clarity, information resources, and manager support. Exit survey content includes reasons for leaving and disengagement triggers.”

Evokes thoughts of Robert DiNiro in Brazil (1985) and Jude Law in Gattica (1997)


cost: $2-$3 per employee / mo.

If it’s good enough for NASA, Nike, McDonald’s and Amazon, it should be good enough for you.

A friend and contributing chef wrote:
 “I used Deputy when I was with XYZ group but it was a pain… and recorded location wrong more often than not (like saying my employees were in Texas when they were in New Hampshire). I just finally wrote my own system as part of a new employee information portal that we're beta testing this week. I considered Square, as well, and it looks ok.”

In spite of that experience, Deputy seems to get mostly high marks across the board for scheduling, employee shift changing / shift change acceptance, clocking in on site via various employees’ mobile devices, admin tracking hours for payroll, communicating with employees via a feed style message board, assigning tasks and tracking performance.

Hope that helps a bit. Let me know which you decide on and whether you like it or not,