If you’ve ever had to build a schedule, then you know that the process is more of a marathon than a sprint. Unfortunately, very few of us are prepared to take our schedule creating skills to the HR Olympics. The majority of us still have years of training before we’re ready to bring home a gold medal. What if there was an easier way to take your scheduling building skills to Olympic levels? Luckily, there is. Scheduling software and the best employee scheduling apps can give you the boost you need to feel like a champion.
However, finding the right product to take you to the top of the competition can still be a lot of work. Determining which scheduling software can benefit you most requires more than just simply guessing which vendor looks like the best option. You’ll need to know what an employee scheduling app is capable of doing, which features you should look out for and then reconcile both of those to narrow down which products will meet your needs.
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What This Article Covers
What Can Employee Scheduling Apps Do?
There are a lot of specific tasks that a scheduling app can help with. The most simple solutions will be able to help streamline and automate core functions of schedule building, while more advanced products will be able to tackle additional HR tasks outside of simple scheduling.
So how can you determine how advanced you need your solution to be? The best method will be to develop a list of requirements based on your unique scheduling challenges. However, regardless of your specific business needs, there are still a handful of features you’ll want to look out for when comparing employee scheduling applications.
For any scheduling product, the schedule management feature will be important to assess. This will be one of the core features you’ll be utilizing. If schedule building is a marathon, then the schedule management feature is your tried and true pair of running shoes. Regardless of whether you rock Nikes, Adidas or some other brand, the goal is the same: your running shoes are the core tool in your marathon kit. While it’s true you can run without shoes, the right shoes will certainly make your journey easier.
The primary function of the schedule management feature will be schedule creation. However, that’s not the only task you’ll be able to use this feature for. Depending on the system you choose you’ll have access to a variety of different tools within this feature.
Some of the specific tools you may have access to include group scheduling, automated scheduling and seasonal scheduling capabilities. All of these tools will enhance your ability to create and track schedules. When comparing employee scheduling app vendors, you’ll want to be aware of all of the specific schedule management capabilities that you’re looking for. Then you can be sure that the product you’re considering provides you with those tools.
Obviously, you need good shoes to run an entire marathon, but there are other tools that will help you make it to the finish line — like a killer playlist. Just like you’ll have to sort through your music library to curate the perfect motivational playlist, you’ll also have to keep track of all of your employees in order to build the perfect schedule.
Much like curating the proper songs, you want to be sure you have the proper employees working the right shifts. Tracking all of your employees’ information can be a lot of work, especially if you have a large number of workers. That’s the reason why you’ll want to be sure the system you choose provides a great employee management feature. This feature can help you track employee availability as well as the locations they work in. This feature also warehouses an employee database.
You have great shoes and get pumped listening to that playlist, but you’ll still make it a lot farther with a water bottle to keep you hydrated. The same is true for schedule building and a shift management feature. A system that can build schedules based on employee information is great, but throw in a shift management feature and you’re guaranteed to cross the finish line with your head held high.
This feature will act as a safeguard to ensure that your schedule is always the best it can be. It can help by providing you with warnings about schedule conflicts as well as assist in skills-based scheduling. Some of the specific tools within this feature include tracking open shifts, standby shifts as well as one-click staff confirmation.
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Employee Scheduling App Benefits
No matter what the task you’re working on, it’s always nice to have a little help — and building a schedule is no exception. An employee scheduling solution acts as a helping hand to make your life a little easier. If you’ve ever spent time putting together a schedule, you know how daunting it can be — and a little extra help probably sounds pretty wonderful. So, what are some of the specific benefits you’re likely to see from implementing a scheduling solution?
One major benefit of implementing a scheduling app is that it saves you time. A recent study found that more than half of employers devote at least two hours to schedule creation every week. While those two hours may not seem like a lot, they add up quickly over time. A solution with automated schedule building can significantly decrease the number of hours you spend on schedule building. Automated scheduling also eliminates the headache of reconciling the schedule with each employee’s availability.
Scheduling products not only save time, but they’re also often better at building schedules. Many systems offer some level of collaboration in terms of schedule building, which allows employees to contribute to the schedule. Some systems enable employees to change their availability in addition to providing them with shift change capabilities. Collaboration makes it easier for employees to be sure they’re being scheduled for the shifts they’re available for and allows them to find coverage for the shifts they can’t perform.
Another major benefit to schedule apps is increased accessibility. Many solutions allow employees to access the schedule remotely. That means that you no longer have to worry about employees forgetting the schedule and missing their scheduled shifts. It also allows you to make changes to the schedule even when you’re away from your desk — so if you need to post an open shift, you’ll be able to do it immediately, increasing the odds that you’ll find coverage for the shift.
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Types of Scheduling Apps to Consider
Many systems will have the same basic scheduling capabilities. However, not all systems are created equal. Advanced systems will have additional features that will assist with HR tasks outside the realm of scheduling, while basic systems will only offer core scheduling capabilities. Even the software itself will have different practical abilities. At a high level, scheduling apps can be divided into two categories: on-premise and cloud-based.
On-premise solutions are essentially what they sound like they are. They are stored in-house, on an internal server. Organizations that implement this type of software will need to purchase a license or a copy of the software in order to use the system. Businesses that choose to utilize this type of software often enjoy the peace-of-mind that comes with knowing all of their data is stored in-house.
An additional benefit of these solutions is that they are typically easier to modify. If you own a niche business, then you’ll be able to customize an on-premise solution to match your specific processes. Often, these types of customizable solutions are used by larger, enterprise businesses while small businesses tend to prefer cloud-based solutions.
Cloud-based software is the alternative to on-premise solutions. Cloud-based solutions are hosted by the vendor’s server and are accessible through the internet. These types of scheduling systems are a major benefit to the user due to the accessibility they provide. Because a cloud-based scheduling system is accessed through the internet, users are able to get on the system from anywhere as long as they have internet connectivity.
Cloud systems are also an excellent option if you’re looking for software with mobile capabilities. The ability to access the schedule from anywhere allows you to make changes to the schedule as needed without ducking back into your office every time a change occurs. Many systems also allow employees to access the schedule, ensuring that they always know which shifts they’re scheduled for. Additionally, this allows for a more collaborative schedule building process. Not only can employees check the schedule from their homes, but they can also post and find coverage for shifts they are unavailable for.
These types of systems also prove to be a valuable business investment. Because they are housed in the vendor’s server, they often update automatically. That way, you’ll always have the most up to date version of the software.
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Compare Employee Scheduling App Vendors
If you’ve recently decided that you’re ready to implement an employee scheduling application, then you’ll want to begin your search with a list of requirements. This list will help guide your search and give you a good basis for evaluating top vendors based on your business’s unique needs. Determining what your specific business needs are can be difficult, so if you find you need extra guidance to get started in our search, then you might consider using our comprehensive requirements template, which will help you determine which vendors have what you’re looking for.
Once you’ve narrowed down your top picks for scheduling vendors, you’ll want to compare the vendors on your short list. You’ll want to be sure to ask vendors key questions such as what integration solutions they offer, how frequently the vendor updates the system as well as if they offer a demo. Looking at a demo or even testing out a system on a trial basis will give you further insight into how the system works and whether or not it will be a benefit to your organization once you’ve fully implemented the system. This will also be the time you’ll want to compare prices among top vendors. As with any investment, you want to be sure that the system you select is within your HR departments budget.
The Best Employee Scheduling Apps
We’ve spent a lot of time talking about employee scheduling apps, which features to look out for and how to judge the vendors. Now it’s time to talk specifics. We’ve gathered a list of the best employee scheduling applications based on data from our expert team of analysts.
Deputy offers benefits to businesses in a variety of industries. This cloud-based system allows managers to create schedules, calculate overtime and request coverage for open shifts. The system also offers integrations for other business apps, mobile apps with self-service features and a news feed to help encourage employee engagement.
This system also offers a handful of unique features like biometric facial recognition, which helps put an end to issues like buddy-punching. It additionally provides advanced features that are able to predict scheduling needs based on factors like weather. The advanced forecasting capabilities allow you to forecast sales and build schedules accordingly.
If you’re looking for a system with excellent mobile capabilities, then Deputy is a solution you should consider. The software offers apps that are compatible with Android, iPhone, iPad and even your Apple Watch. This mobile capability enables managers to schedule employees, approve timesheets and find replacements for shifts — all without ever getting off the couch.