Employee Scheduling Software Buyer's Guide
The Best Employee Scheduling Software is All About Boosting Productivity
By Mariah Hansen, Market Research Associate
Scheduling employees can feel like a big puzzle that involves countless moving pieces. Solving complicated puzzles like this is always easier with a bit of help — that’s where employee scheduling software comes into play.
In order to complete your weekly schedule, you need to track a lot of information. You need to know what sort of volume you can expect and how that will affect your staffing needs. You also have to be aware of employee availability, what employees are qualified for each role and if any employees need training, how many hours your business will be open, and much more. Can software really help with all of that?
Well, think of it likes this: With just pen and paper, some managers spend more than 17 percent of their time building schedules every week! Employee scheduling tools can significantly reduce that time. It’s pretty clear that at a minimum, software will be a time-saver. If that something you’re interested in, then it’s time to start looking for a new platform. Look for a solution that addresses all of your needs, and maybe even does a little bit extra. You’ll want to assess your options and determine which solution is the best for your needs. Once you’ve found your perfect match, you’ll be able to expedite your scheduling process and boost productivity.
- The top employee scheduling systems help you store and track employee information and easily build schedules.
- Will eliminate time-consuming tasks and boost overall productivity.
- Conducting a software comparison will be a crucial step in your software buying process. Our software comparison report can be a helpful tool.
- When evaluating vendors, there are questions you’ll need to ask to ensure you understand the ins and outs of the solution.
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While every business has different employee scheduling processes and will benefit in different ways, one thing remains the same — you’re looking to software to enhance your process. Let’s talk specifics. What are some potential benefits that you might see after implementing scheduling software?
Regardless of why you’ve decided to use web-based employee scheduling tools, you’ll likely see an increase in efficiency and productivity. Schedule building is incredibly time-consuming. There are countless factors to consider — from employee availability to the number of hours each employee is legally permitted to work. A platform will help you to account for all of these factors, ultimately making the process easier for you even if the software doesn’t generate a schedule automatically. With this kind of assistance, you’ll be freed up to focus on other tasks.
Another benefit is a decrease in costs. This may manifest in various ways depending on your organization’s operations and why you’ve chosen to implement new software. You may find that your new productivity results in savings in labor costs as you won’t be forced to work longer hours just to complete a schedule. The best staff scheduling software can often eliminate over-staffing by predicting what your specific staffing needs will be based on previous data.
Your employees will also see benefits from using employee schedule software. Depending on the product you choose your employees may be able to access the current schedule remotely at any time of the day. That means you’ll see a decrease in the number of missed shifts. Employees can then also find coverage for shifts they can’t work and can swap shifts directly through the platform with little effort on the managerial end.
With convenient access to the schedule, your employees will also be able to plan better. This will result in a greater work-life balance and will ultimately result in higher employee morale. The workplace will be a more enjoyable place overall when everyone is happy.
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top employee scheduling systems
As with any new addition to your business, you’ll want to have a good plan of how to implement your new software. Part of that plan is knowing what you want to gain from using the software. There are a few goals that your software implementation should accomplish in order for you to get the most out of your new product.
Effectively Assign Work
The best schedules will make sure that your employees are being used to their fullest potential. You know what your employees are best at and should be able to schedule them at times when those skills are put to use.
For example, a coffee shop owner would want to be sure to schedule someone who is a great barista with an individual who is friendly and can operate the cash register. Scheduling two baristas who aren’t trained to use the register would leave that spot unfilled.
If you have lots of employees with different skill sets, then you’ll want to be sure to have a platform that is able to recognize those skills and schedule accordingly. Even if that isn’t a problem for your organization, it’s important that your solution is able to help you ensure that you have proper coverage for all the times your business is operating.
Manage Business Needs
How you build the upcoming schedule can impact multiple aspects of your business. As a result, you’ll need a solution that is aware of all of those business needs.
The top related priority for your business is ensuring you have proper coverage during business hours. Your workforce scheduling software can help by being aware of trends within your business and using that data to predict what coverage you’ll need in the future.
This will not only ensure that you have enough coverage for those times when business is booming, but it will also help to be sure you aren’t going over your budget by unnecessarily scheduling more employees than you need. A product's integration capabilities will only enhance this.
By tracking these trends to help build a better schedule, you’ll also get data on trends within your business. You might discover that your restaurant is bustling on some days of the week and much slower on others. With that information, you can determine the best days to offer specials to your customers to help promote your business.
Meet Employee Needs
The truth of the matter is that when your employees are happy, they’re more productive. One way to help foster a great work environment is by focusing on the basics — particularly scheduling. None of your employees want to come into work just to find out that the schedule has changed and they’re no longer needed.
Effective processes will help eliminate this issue altogether, helping your employees to balance both their work and their personal lives. When everyone on your team has a good work-life balance, they’ll be more likely to perform better overall at work, and they’re more likely to remain employed with your organization.
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top employee scheduling systems
Core Features & Functionality
Many employee scheduling systems are equipped with many of the same features and will accomplish the same basic tasks. Some products will even have more advanced versions of those features that can help other areas of your business. However, it is important to note that while most products contain a core set of features, each platform will still have its own strengths and weaknesses to consider. These are some key features you’ll want to assess when shopping for software.
Employee management lies at the heart of scheduling and help organize all of the relevant employee information to expedite schedule creation.
Some of the specific tools you’ll be able to utilize with this feature include an employee roster, employee database, locations list, cross-referencing features and employee availability database. A comprehensive solution will allow you to track and easily access all of this information when building a schedule.
Schedule management is likely the main reason you’re looking for online employee scheduling tools. No matter what you go with, the schedule management feature will be the feature you use most often.
This function will automate the schedule building process and eliminate any guesswork. Some platforms will even generate schedules automatically, taking into account all of the pertinent factors, like budget and employee preferences.
At the core of shift management tools lies the ability to recognize open shifts so you can perform effective shift scheduling and find employees to fill them. The more advanced your solution, the more the product can help.
The most advanced solutions can work to assign tasks based on the skills and abilities your employees possess at an individual level. Some products can even automatically rectify conflicts and send alerts to let you know when it recognizes a conflict.
After you’ve gone through all the trouble of creating a schedule, you want to be sure that everyone is actually showing up to the shifts they’re scheduled for. That’s why you want to use time management tools.
Some of the specific tools you get with this feature include time and attendance tracking, overtime tracking, and blackout dates. More advanced solutions provide upgraded versions of these tools. For instance, some products include things like biometrics, which allow your employees’ to use their fingerprints to record time punches.
Just like you want to know how long each employee works, you also want to keep track of how often employees are missing work. Fortunately, employee time scheduling software will do more than just track no-shows or call outs.
Absence management can help you to plan for times when your employees are on vacation and even help track their vacation requests. With this information conveniently stored in one platform, you’ll be able to ensure that you’ll have enough coverage even when your employees are away.
|Scheduling & Effectiveness Tracking||
You pay your employees to do their job well. Similarly, if you’ve decided it’s time to pay for software, then you want to be sure your new solution is doing its job well. The tools provided by a scheduling effectiveness module will help you see exactly how much of a benefit the proper schedule can be.
The advanced tools within this function can help to predict what the best schedule-building practices are for your business. Some solutions can create schedules for you automatically based on those best practices.
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top employee scheduling systems
Additional Features to Consider
You’ve decided it’s time to implement employee scheduling tools to help simplify the process of schedule building. Any features that help specifically with that task will be vital. However, depending on the platform you choose, you’ll likely have access to extra features that can help out in other areas as well as with your scheduling needs. You’ll want to be aware of what those other features are so that you have a good understanding of what your new solution will be able to do.
|Track Payroll Expense & Budget||
The schedule you’ve created will affect other aspects of the business — specifically payroll. Obviously, the hours your employees work will directly affect their paycheck. That’s why it’s a benefit that your staff scheduling software has some financial features included, like exporting relevant payroll data. This feature will save you time by expediting payroll processing.
This is an all-around great feature that helps include your employees in the schedule building process. A solution that is user-friendly and accessible will allow employees to log in and make sure their needs are being met.
Some of these specific tools include allowing employees to clock-in and clock-out within the platform. Some products have a shift-swap feature that allows employees to easily find coverage for shifts they aren’t able to work — meaning you’ll spend less time looking for someone to fill those open shifts. These tools give your employees more control over the schedule, and they’ll likely be happier with the schedule knowing they were able to contribute to its creation.
The deployment method you choose will depend on your specific business needs. You might choose an on-premise software if you want a platform that operates in-house, or you may choose a cloud-based solution if accessibility is an important feature for you. You may also want to look for a product that has mobile capabilities in order to facilitate quick schedule changes.
The level of integration you’ll need will depend on what software you already use. Regardless of what your existing systems are, you’ll want to ensure that your new one is able to integrate seamlessly.
|Reporting & Business Intelligence||
Reporting and BI functions will help provide the big picture details of your organization. These tools will help generate data reports that will help you understand how scheduling is affecting business goals.
Some tools — like employee reporting and report creation — can generate forms that show data in an easy to understand format. This information can then be easily shared with executives and stakeholders directly through the platform by granting them access to the platform's dashboards.
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top employee scheduling systems
Compare Employee Scheduling Software
Once you’ve begun your search, your goal is to select the best software for your scheduling needs. You’ll be faced with the task of defining what you want from a product and reconciling that with what functions each software offers. There will be lots of product features to compare to one another to determine which product will work for your organization.
You need to consider which software will fit best into your business plan. While that can be a big task with lots of details to look over, it doesn’t have to be difficult. There’s plenty of help out there that will help you break everything down. Our in-depth employee scheduling software report breaks down the data points into a meaningful comparison to help you select which system is your best option.
Questions to Ask Vendors
Does the vendor actively invest in continuous software improvements?
The last thing you want is to use software that will become outdated in a year. When you choose your software, you want to make sure that it will work for you for years to come. You want software that is innovative and will continue to be innovative as technology advances. That’s why you’ll want to know what the vendor is doing to make sure their product is always up to date with software improvements.
How does the software support data integration with other departments?
Data integration will help when it’s time to look at your business analytics. You may want your payroll software and your employee scheduling system to share data. If that’s the case, you’ll need to know what types of integration are supported by the new product. You may also need your data analyzed for business analytics to see trends. The more complex your needs are, the more you’ll need a solution that is able to seamlessly integrate with other software.
How are reports generated?
Understanding how reports are generated will give you insight into what specific employee data points can be analyzed as well as what format it will be presented in once the report is generated. This question will help you understand if the reports being generated will be valuable to you and in what ways you’ll benefit from them.
Does the solution support mobile deployment?
Mobile deployment is growing in popularity for business software across the board. For scheduling systems, it helps to facilitate quick schedule changes even when you’re not at work. Mobile deployment allows you to make sure you always have the coverage you need, even when you’re away from your computer. If your business keeps you moving, then this capability will provide you with a convenient way to track which employees should be showing up to work and when there are changes to the original schedule, so you always have an overview of the most up to date schedule.
What self-learning and support options are available?
Once you’ve selected your software, you want to be sure you know how to use it properly. Asking the vendor what learning tools you’ll have access to will tell you how much support you’ll have when it comes time to navigate your software. Some vendors might have a support team you can contact by phone to answer questions while others may offer online video tutorials that demonstrate how to use their software. These things will help you during the process of setting up your software and will be a great support if you run into any snags later down the road.
Paylocity is an all-in-one HR platform that enables organizations of every size to execute benefits administration, payroll, talent management, time and labor management, and other core processes. The cloud-based software includes multiple customization and configuration options, allowing organizations to scale according to their needs. It contains robust security measures such as encryption, real-time backups and numerous data centers.The solution has mobile apps for iOS and Android devices, giving users flexible access to information. Users can update contact information, receive notifications, view timesheets, follow company updates and perform other actions. Several welcome screens introduce new users to the app’s main features.
HotSchedules is a web-based shift management solution designed to meet the needs of organizations in the hospitality industry. It assists with a variety of core HR tasks including assigning shifts to employees, tracking time and managing labor. It helps managers save time, reduce labor costs and improve communication by streamlining the processes involved in arranging time tables. By optimizing labor management practices, businesses can ensure compliance with current legislation and boost the overall employee experience.
WhenToWork enables employees to set their own work preferences to help guide managers when filling open shifts and building weekly schedules. Once shifts are filled, managers can publish the schedule and push shift assignment notifications to employees for them to confirm. Housed in the cloud, employees and managers have access to a variety of features directly through the mobile app. This makes it easy for employees to swap shifts and managers to find coverage for open shifts. Automated alerts ensure employees know of schedule changes as soon as they happen to decrease missed shifts.
Homebase serves businesses that rely on hourly workers by assisting with shift management and overall schedule generation. It also aids time tracking and hiring. Though the product was originally designed with small and local businesses in mind, it has since expanded and now supports businesses of all sizes. It offers a free tier for users with basic needs and more advanced pricing packages for users with additional requirements not covered by the free subscription plan.
When I Work is designed to meet the needs of businesses of all sizes, and offers specialized solutions for businesses in a variety of industries. Provides a variety of tools, including templates and a user-friendly interface, which help to automate and streamline core schedule-based tasks.This web-based solution can automatically notify employees when schedules are available and enables them to interact with the schedule directly from their mobile device. The solution can also help improve communication, reduce missed shifts and track attendance in order to help foster business growth.
TSheets is a time tracking program that allows users to create, edit and track schedules. Automated notifications are included in the program so that users can stay up-to-date on changes. The system also contains GPS functionality that enables managers to see the location of employees when they’re on the clock and to leverage that information when deploying resources.The program is available for deployment through the cloud, and the vendor offers a comprehensive mobile app. With mobile functionality, time can be tracked on various devices even when an internet connection is not readily available. The system also integrates with multiple popular payroll and accounting solutions to streamline financial management and alleviate gaps in the workflow.
Humanity, previously called ShiftPlanning, is a solution offered as a SaaS to businesses of all sizes. The program can work both as a standalone program in the cloud or integrate with other HCM and payroll platforms.Streamlines a variety of tasks, including schedule building, data tracking, staffing and other HR functions. The solution can automate core tasks to help improve workforce productivity and efficiency.
7shifts is a cloud-based scheduling solution that serves the restaurant industry. It enhances efficiency by optimizing schedules and streamlining communication with employees. It is intuitive and can manage workforce schedules in multiple locations and offers simplified communication for managers and employees. It is designed to manage shift modifications, time off and availability of employees. It streamlines operations, boosts efficiency and can be integrated with the existing POS of the restaurant.
After more than 15 years of development, Deputy was founded in 2008. Offers a variety of tools to assist with core HR tasks, including managing your employees. Able to assist with creating schedules, managing performance, time tracking and payroll.The cloud-based platform is designed to meet HR management needs for businesses of any size in all industries. By focusing on a variety of metrics, Deputy can help businesses to expand operations, increase efficiency and save both time and money.
Jolt simplifies staff scheduling for businesses with mobile employees. It is scalable, customizable and works with businesses of all sizes. It offers a drag-and-drop interface that streamlines daily operations and enhances productivity. Its integrated functions perform a range of processes, including audit management, tracking personnel, learning management, goal tracking, performance review and employee scheduling.
Founded in 2002, Shiftboard was designed as a SaaS application. The web-based product assists in managing hourly workers. By automating a variety of scheduling tasks, this product can optimize efficiency and productivity. The versatile solution can tackle complex schedule-centered needs and is suitable for mid-size and enterprise businesses. Advanced features can help businesses to save on operating costs, streamline overall operations and ensure compliance with regulatory guidelines.
In an ideal world the online employee scheduling system would be available to every employee and manager from anywhere. It would integrate seamlessly with a customizable member database, a customizable form solution, document storage, and a variety of time-saving communication tools. Lets employees see their schedule, sign up for open shifts, track time off and trades, and submit forms...all in real-time. It would automate the mundane and error prone portions of the workforce management process. That ideal world is here and now. The solution is Aladtec.
MySchedule offers an online portal where employees can check their schedules and make requests through the website and mobile app. The solution facilitates communication between employees such as announcements from management and direct messaging between employees. Employees can use this tool to propose shift swaps that can be approved or denied by management. The solution also offers reporting with contextualized charts, graphs and data.
ScheduleAnywhere is an employee scheduling software suite that simplifies assigning shifts for staff across multiple locations and departments. It manages staff availability and requirements, time-off requests and controls extra hours. It also offers self-scheduling for employees, which can be enabled with requisite permissions. It generates reports to offer deeper insights into the functioning of an organization. Business owners can generate customized reports on staff attendance, schedule and time-off requests, employee skills, estimated costs and more.
Ximble, formerly known as NimbleSchedule, provides shift planning tools to businesses across all industries. The solution was acquired by Paycor in 2019, giving users access to Paycor’s full suite of HR solutions. Additionally, this cloud-based product is built to meet the needs of businesses of all sizes. The system provides tools that assist with scheduling, time tracking, staff management and team communication.
Orbital Shift's online time clock software will save your business valuable time and money. Access work schedules online, track labor expenses in real time, and communicate with your staff via email or text from virtually anywhere.
ScheduleBase is a cloud-based solution that simplifies workforce scheduling processes for organizations. It is customizable and it allows business owners to manage and communicate with their employees in real-time and the format they choose to. It facilitates easy tracking of varying schedules and allows submissions to be made from a computer or a mobile device. It sends out notifications to the employees about their shifts.
ZoomShift provides shift management and scheduling tools to businesses of all sizes, across all industries. Though all businesses can benefit from the available features, it is best suited for organizations with small to medium-sized workforces. By leveraging powerful shift management functionalities, managers are able to build and manage schedules based on a variety of factors including multiple locations, employee availability and seasonality. With pre-built templates and a drag-and-drop interface, managers can streamline their scheduling processes, increase productivity and decrease errors.
Fingercheck is a cloud-based human resources system. The system provides tools that help to streamline hiring, time tracking and payroll tasks along with various other HR management tasks. Provides benefits to users at all levels, allowing both employees and employers to streamline workflows. Users can easily automate their processes.
Born out of a conversation in a Danish bar, Planday provides tools to businesses of all sizes, across all industries. Scalability is a key benefit for any growing business looking to automate and streamline administrative tasks such as schedule building and report generation. With built-in messaging features, managers are able to improve communication within the team. With tools to help manage hourly workers and track individual employee activity, managers can easily build reports that provide a comprehensive overview of the business.
SmartLinx provides a complete end-to-end Workforce HR suite of solutions that streamline operations, increase efficiency, eliminate unnecessary labor expense, and reduce compliance risk. Thousands of workplaces rely on SmartLinx to manage, monitor and optimize their people resources and costs. Founded in 2000, SmartLinx serves clients with a solution suite that includes applicant tracking, staff schedule optimization, time and attendance, human resources, payroll, employee self-service, business analytics, licensing and training management, ACA compliance management, mobility, and time clocks, offered with direct access for management and their teams.
HRWeb is a web-based HRIS platform for tracking and evaluating employee activity, behavior and data. It offers a range of capabilities for time and attendance, performance management, applicant tracking, onboarding and employee behavior tracking. It can help manage several HR tasks, from hiring new employees to conducting employee reviews.
Work Schedule Dot Net is the original online employee scheduling service. Managers create the employee schedule online using only a web browser. This can be done either automatically or manually. Then employees can access their schedule by web, or by telephone. WSDN uses the SaaS model of computing in the cloud. This means you can offload the headaches of networking, hardware, backup, and storage to us. We take care of it all so you can concentrate on your work schedule.
Resource Guru is a cloud-based scheduling software that helps manage resources online. It helps schedule staff, equipment and other crucial resources by drastically cutting down time spent on spreadsheets. It supports resource scheduling, resource management, leave management and clash management — it allows the users to handle constantly changing staff schedules efficiently.
Snap Schedule software is exactly designed to cover multiple locations. Easily handle physician's requests and their individual preferences, such as days they won't work. Put in authorized vacations, surprise days off or sick days. Built for the unique demands of your business. It fits your budgets, your needs, and your business plan.
The Telax Cloud Contact Center is an advanced call center management system with more functionality than traditional hardware based contact centers, at a fraction of the cost. Telax Cloud Contact Center leverages the “Cloud” model to deliver a customizable and easy to use call center solution that includes ACD, IVR, WFM, CTI, reports, recordings, remote agents, disaster recovery and much more.
Branch Messenger enables enterprises to optimize their patient scheduling at scale and in real-time to improve operational efficiencies. A web dashboard and self-service mobile app streamline schedule creation, distribution and management. Employees are able to view schedules, swap shifts, request time off and set their availability all from within the app. Branch Messenger is currently adopted by enterprises in retail, restaurants, hospitality, transportation, banking and call centers industries.
Infor CloudSuite HCM is a cloud-based product designed to deliver comprehensive capabilities for medium-sized and large organizations. Its core bundle consists of global HR, HR service delivery and talent management. Companies can add on payroll, HCM analytics and workforce management modules on an as-needed basis for extended functionality.
Cezanne Performance Management transforms employee appraisals and reviews into a centralised, streamlined activity that’s simpler and more satisfying for everyone. Pputs employer in control to set up as many forms and decide what to ask (and how to ask it), the rating or scoring approach you want to use and who to involve at each step of the process.
Workforce Scheduler™ is an automated labor scheduling solution that lets managers accurately create schedules that align labor with anticipated demand while adhering to all company and regulatory scheduling policies consistently. But there's no such thing as a static schedule. So when an employee unexpectedly calls in sick, you can use Workforce Scheduler's mobile technology to quickly identify qualified substitutes, automatically notify them, and select one to fill the shift. Workforce Scheduler is part of the Workforce Central suite, which gives you complete workforce management control.
honeybeeBase is a cloud-based team management solution for small to medium size businesses that allows users to track attendance, employee scheduling, time clock, communication, and more. It allows employees to clock in and out from any browser on desktops, tablets, and mobile devices. Its rule-based accessibility restricts unauthorized access and blocks users access from certain prohibited locations. The real-time alert feature sends notifications to managers when their teammates start or end their shifts. Alerts can be delivered via text messages, email, or web notifications.
Factorial HR is a free, couldbased software with no download requirements. Simply log in to your account directly in the browser and acess all your documents, request annual-leave or report absence. As a manager, you can create reports and analytics from the data saved in the system, create the company organisationchart and much more.
Visual Staff Scheduler Pro 14 is the easiest way to assign shifts and manage work schedules. No other tool can help you get your employee scheduling done faster, better, or easier. With this easy-to-use, full-featured solution, you can now schedule shifts, enter time-off requests, add special annotations for weeks, months, or even years in advance, and quickly produce any schedule or report for any timeframe.
Pricing & Cost Guide
See the Price/User for the top employee scheduling software… plus the most important considerations and questions to ask when shopping.
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