Employee Scheduling Software | 5 mins read

Features to Consider when Shopping for Employee Scheduling Software

features to consider when shopping for employee scheduling software
Michelle Jaco

By Michelle Jaco

Employee scheduling software is a valuable tool for creating employee schedules and administrating hourly staff. It saves time by automating the scheduling process with key functions for automating new schedule and shift change notifications, auto-assigning shifts, creating timecards, importing payroll files, and much more. Schedule management platforms eliminate human error and produce consistent schedules while increasing productivity, worker satisfaction, and optimizing labor costs.

As an employer, you're all too familiar with the challenges of creating employee schedules that keep your staff happy while fulfilling shift requirements and keeping business running smoothly. Employee scheduling software is a cost-effective solution for streamlining this time consuming and tedious process, eliminating human error, and minimizing paperwork for small, medium, and large companies.

In this guide, we'll discuss the most important features to consider when shopping around for employees scheduling software. We'll also provide an in-depth explanation of the innovations, benefits, types, and buying factors you need to be aware of to help you choose the best employee scheduling solution for your company.

The Importance of Innovation

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Business owners and managers have a lot of responsibilities on the day-to-day, and tasks like creating schedules can take your focus away from other key tasks. This could lead to increased labor costs, especially if it causes you to hire additional staff or fail to utilize your current workforce optimally.

Manual scheduling on a spreadsheet can cost a manager as much as 140 hours a year! That's a huge amount of time that could be spent on more important business management tasks.

Not only that, but employees confess that they waste as much as 50% of their time on the clock when they don't have a structured schedule. That means your looking at a significant loss of productivity if your staff isn't aware of exactly what needs to be done.

And, offering employees the ability to manage their own schedules boosts morale and performance. It also cuts down on unplanned overtime by ensuring that shifts are covered adequately.

Online employee scheduling software that makes shift planning effortless.
Try it free for 14 days.

Benefits of Employee Scheduling Software

What makes employee scheduling software a better option that manual scheduling? Although every business is different, businesses of all sizes can benefit from automating their scheduling process. Here are some of the key benefits of employee management software-

1. Employee scheduling software automatically accounts for changes in an employee's availability. This eliminates issues like not have enough staff to cover a shift and scheduling conflicts when a team member takes planned time off. Some software platforms even have shift-swapping features, allowing employees to make schedule changes in real-time.

2. Improves communication between management and staff. Employee management software allows you to notify your entire staff when the new schedule is posted, or changes are made to an existing schedule. If someone calls in sick, you'll be able to find an available team member easily.

3. Keeps track of documentation, store credentials, expiration dates, and more to ensure compliance. Employee scheduling software can notify you and your staff when certain important renewal dates are coming up and ensure that staff members with expired credentials aren't put on the schedule.

4. Cuts down on uncovered shifts. Although you'll never be able to account for unplanned sick days or emergencies, employee scheduling software will cut down on uncovered shifts by keeping track of staff members who are willing to take on a shift with short notice.

5. Optimizing labor costs. Scheduling software can keep track of how much staff is generally required for each shift and forecast the demand. This minimizes over and under scheduling and unplanned overtime.

6. Minimizes scheduling complaints. Scheduling software improves morale and minimizes complaints because they have consistent scheduling. It minimizes errors in time-off requests while ensuring that each shift is covered adequately.

Types of Employee Scheduling Software

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Employee scheduling software comes in two main types-

  • Static Scheduling- Companies with fixed shifts can benefit from static scheduling software. It automatically rotates the employees on two or more shifts each day according to the time periods you define. This type of software is ideal for restaurants and hotels because it streamlines the scheduling process and keeps track of the routine automatically.
  • Dynamic Scheduling- This type of software is ideal for companies whose shifts are constantly changing according to things like variations in locations or customers. It's perfect for service-oriented businesses like pet sitters, appliance repair techs, or contractors. This software will minimize scheduling conflict by providing real-time updates on which team members are available.
Some platforms will accommodate one type of scheduling or the other, and some will do both. They generally offer two deployment types, as well-
  • Web-based- Web-based deployment allows management to access the software from any computer with an internet connection. This type of service is usually available on a monthly or yearly subscription, and the price is based on the size of your staff and the number of users.
  • On-premise or server-based- Sever-based software is installed on your server and can only be used on your private network. Upfront costs are generally higher with this option and you may need to pay for maintenance and upgrades in the future. Manual backups will also be required.

Features of Employee Scheduling Software

Here are the fundamental features to look for when choosing employee scheduling software-
1. Schedule Overview- Allows you to view weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly shifts at a glance.

2. Work Management- Easily manage billable and nonbillable work, budgets, meetings, workload, and portfolios to maximize productivity.

3. Real-Time Communication- Utilizes mobile and internet technology to keep your workforce informed 24/7.

4. Auto-Assign Shifts- Automates shift assignments to expedite the scheduling process.

5. Shift Swapping- Allows employees to trade shifts or pick up available shifts while preventing over and under scheduling and unplanned overtime.

6. Schedule Template- Saves your previous schedules and allows you to fine-tune them according to current requirements.

7. Worker Profile- Keeps track of all important employee data, including contact info and certifications.

8. Resource Forecasting- Utilizes algorithms to project staffing requirements according to historical patterns.

9. Reports and Analytics- Valuable insight and summaries, including financial reports, data export, time clock, labor costs, and more.

10. Integrations- Integrates with your current payroll management and other systems.

Online employee scheduling software that makes shift planning effortless.
Try it free for 14 days.

Buying Factors to Consider

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With all that in mind, here are the key buying factors to consider when choosing the best scheduling solution for your company-
1. Consider user-friendliness, especially in industries that are not tech-savvy.

2. Automatic shift assignments to streamline the scheduling process.

3. Schedule tracking for efficiency.

4. Value and function. Consider adding premium features according to your business needs.

5. Consider your company's scheduling challenges and choose software that addresses them.

6. Ensure that the software you choose is compatible with your current systems.

7. Accessibility by smartphone is important for your staff, and security is vital for protecting everyone's data.

8. Integration capabilities are key, especially with your accounting and payroll software.

9. Exceptional customer service and accessible technical support.

10. Analytics and reporting to help you optimize the scheduling process.

Employee scheduling software streamlines tedious and time-consuming scheduling tasks. Many platforms come with a rich set of features that allow you to automate many processes and keep your staff informed of scheduling changes in real-time. Employee scheduling software is a cost-effective time-management solution for companies of all sizes.

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