Staff scheduling software has become more and more popular as everything has become more digitized. As a manager, you know that there is more to employee scheduling than simply putting the right people in the right place at the right time. You have to:
- Schedule requests to consider
- Last minute open shifts to fill
- Meet staffing regulations
- Retain your employees
It can be overwhelming. Which is why many organizations invest in online staff scheduling software. But not all scheduling software is created equal, and not all staff scheduling software is the right fit for you and your team.
Beyond creating the weekly schedule, think about the additional facets of the scheduling process you’d like the software to help you manage. Here are four key factors to consider when determining which is the best employee scheduling software solution for you.
1. Think about up-front and long-term costs
If you’ve already begun to compare different staff scheduling software, you know that there is an expansive price range between solutions. Three common pricing models are:
- Open source: Licenses are typically free, which eliminates upfront costs. But additional services such as integration and ongoing support can be expensive.
- Perpetual License: You pay a one-time fee to own the software and use it continuously. Keep in mind that you will eventually have to pay for updates if the software becomes outdated or is no longer supported by the developer.
- Subscription: Your organization pays a monthly or annual fee to use the software.
Whichever model you choose, consider the initial investment, as well as future and “add-on” costs. Those can include:
- Data transfer
- Ongoing customer support
Also, the software developer may offer flexible pricing based the number of employees you have. Be sure to ask! This ensures you’re only paying for the services your organization needs.
2. Determine which features will save you time
The number one reason many organizations adopt employee scheduling software: to reduce the time spent managing staff schedules.
Easy-to-use software that allows you to create shifts in seconds and schedule multiple employees at once will slash the time you spend creating the initial schedule. If your team works rotating schedules, software that lets you copy schedules or patterns. This will save you from entering repeating schedule information when developing future schedules.
One of the most time-consuming aspects of scheduling is managing time-off and other schedule requests. Staff scheduling software that includes a mobile app lets employees submit requests online.
The request can then be added to the schedule for easy reference when you are building schedules. You also can quickly see if a request conflicts with any previously scheduled shift.
Additionally, if you spend a lot of time on filling open shifts and communicating schedule changes to your team, software with messaging capabilities is a must.
3. Factor in ease of use
You understand that staff scheduling software will save you and your organization:
- Scheduling hassles
But what about your employees?
The thought of learning new software can feel overwhelming to anyone, and some people simply aren’t comfortable with technology. The scheduling software you choose will only be as effective as the people who use it. So, finding a solution that is easy for your employees to learn and implement is important.
Look for software with an intuitive, user-friendly interface and a simple-to-navigate mobile app. You want your employees to use the features that will make scheduling easier for you and life easier for them.
This goes beyond making it simple for them to see daily rosters and knowing exactly when and where they are needed. You should ensure the software you select includes straightforward tools for tasks such as time-off requests and shift swaps.
Research whether the software companies you are considering offer training and free customer support to help walk you and your team through the software and answer any questions. Some software companies even offer step-by-step video tutorials that provide in-depth instructions on how to use their software.
These assets not only help with the transition to online scheduling but will save you time in the future when onboarding new employees.
4. Make sure it has you covered
You are responsible for ensuring your organization always has the right number of properly skilled employees scheduled for each shift. Software that makes staffing calculations according to your specific requirements ensures adequate coverage. This allows you to instantly see whether there are too many or too few people scheduled.
It order to maintain appropriate staffing levels, it is critical to tack things such as:
- Skill levels
Software with the capability to assign these qualifications to each employee helps you schedule the people with the necessary attributes for every shift.
For added security, look for employee scheduling software that sends alerts as far as 90 days before certifications are nearing expiration or when employees are due for additional training.
When an employee calls in sick, or additional manpower is needed, it’s up to you to cover the open shift and communicate schedule needs. Staff scheduling software that allows you to instantly communicate with staff, it will help you alert staff of schedule changes as well as fill open shifts fast.
Look for software that allows you to organize and view the information most important to you on one screen. This makes it easy for you to stay on top of key scheduling and compliance issues.
Invest in staff scheduling software today!
Finding the staff scheduling software solution that best meets your organization’s staffing demands helps ensure every shift is properly covered and each employee has up-to-the-minute schedule information. Additionally, it can cut the time you spend on scheduling by up to 75%. That’s a sound investment your employees and your boss will thank you for making it.
Other articles you might be interested in:
- 10 Ways To Motivate Work-From-Home Employees
- 5 Ideas For Incentives To Reward High Performing Employees
- 5 Time Management Tips For Busy Entrepreneurs
- How To Be A Boss Your Employees Look Up To
- 5 Ways To Ensure You Hire The Best Employees
- 5 Ways To Effectively Train Your Staff
Grace Lopykinski is a blogging intern at LadyBossBlogger. She currently attends the University of Tennessee and is studying Business Administration and English.