The specific functions your employee scheduling software can perform will often depend on what service tier or scheduling package you purchase. For example, some software is very basic and simply enables the creation of schedules, whereas other options incorporate advanced features like time and attendance tracking, automated scheduling, and security and compliance functions.
Look for the following features when evaluating employee scheduling solutions.
While most software allows you to build schedules manually, many platforms also give you the option of auto-scheduling to build repeating or varied schedules automatically. Advanced software like this simplifies your workforce management process with schedule templates, labor forecasts, and calendar management features (e.g., daily, weekly or monthly calendar view). Some software includes demand-based scheduling and shift autofill, which can be valuable workforce scheduling tools.
Your team can benefit from scheduling software with employee-centric tools that allow them to set their availability and preferences, request to drop or swap shifts with their co-workers, and modify their schedules from anywhere. Managers can determine automatic settings for shift approval and denial, or they can manually approve or deny shift change requests.
Time and Attendance Tracking
Tracking employee hours is a key element of employee scheduling. Some employee scheduling software automatically includes time clocks and time-off request capabilities in the base plans, whereas others offer time and attendance functions as add-on features. Employee scheduling software with a clocking-in function reduces the chances that a manager will have to transfer or manually reenter hours into the system. This way, integrated time-tracking capabilities save time and reduce or even eliminate errors.
This software can also help employers track employee overtime, monitor worker behavior, prevent early clock-ins, track employee breaks, automatically deduct unpaid breaks, budget for labor costs, and more. Employee scheduling software with time-tracking features often includes reporting capabilities as well.
Notifications and Reminders
Most employee scheduling software has alert and notification capabilities, but the type of notifications you receive (and the channels through which you can receive them) will vary. The best software offers text, email, and in-app notifications for schedule and message confirmations, tardiness and overtime alerts, automated clock-in and clock-out reminders, and more.
Security and Compliance
Labor law compliance is incredibly important when you have employees on your payroll. If you fail to comply, you could find yourself in hot water with government agencies. The best employee scheduling platforms have persistent checks in place to make sure you don’t fall out of compliance with local and federal labor laws, including overtime regulations and advance-notice requirements for schedule changes.
Dashboard and Usability
Running a small business means dealing with many moving parts. A good employee scheduling solution can integrate with many other pieces of business software, such as the entire Microsoft Office 365 suite or a POS system, streamlining multiple processes without much effort. If a service has a native iOS or Android app that employees and managers can use, that’s even better, since both sides can benefit from the mobile convenience.