What is employee scheduling software?

by Rotageek on 1 April 2021

In 2021, creating an employee rota no longer needs to be a manual task. Thanks to data-driven technology and automatic algorithms, employee scheduling software is transforming a time consuming process into a job that takes 30 seconds or less.

But what does this innovative tech involve? And how does it benefit an organisation on a global scale?

Here we share a user-friendly guide to employee scheduling software - and how to find the best solution for your business.

What is employee scheduling?

Employee scheduling is not just about creating a simple rota. A successful schedule must anticipate labour demand, cater for employee requests, ensure shift coverage and be cost effective. Doing so not only optimises business efficiency - it’s proven to increase customer and employee experience too.

To manually deliver a schedule that works for both your staff and the business is a complex, time consuming task. And the impact of getting it wrong is serious.

Companies who still rely on archaic scheduling processes suffer from a loss of time, wasted costs and low employee engagement. Ultimately, digitising your rota system can be the difference between surviving or thriving in today’s technologically advanced world.

And this is why employee scheduling software is key.

What is employee scheduling software?

Employee scheduling software is a workforce management solution that automates the process of creating a staff rota. By following a set of predetermined rules, the system creates a perfectly optimised schedule that meets your business needs in seconds.

Availability, preferences, demand and fairness are each considered to provide consistent results and increased productivity.

Key benefits of employee scheduling software

There are endless benefits to implementing employee scheduling software for both your business and your people.

Here are the key advantages:

Reduce labour cost by up to 10%

Predicting demand is one of the trickiest parts of accurate scheduling. Too little workers impacts customer experience and employee happiness; but too many and you join the thousands of businesses wasting money on overstaffing every year.

By matching staff to the demand curve, data-driven shift scheduling software can save between 5-10% of labour cost. Using machine learning, AI and agile technology, the forecasting engine predicts demand precisely, a 25% improvement compared to traditional methods. The software is a tenfold return on investment, allowing businesses to not only reduce wasted costs but to reinvest savings to areas that further benefit valuable ROIs.

Save 80% of admin time

Employee scheduling software is proven to reduce schedule-related admin by up to 80%.

29% of managers spend more than nine hours per week on creating rotas. But with online scheduling software, this task can take a matter of minutes, leaving the most experienced members of your team to get back to what’s important.

Improve productivity and retention

Employee scheduling software boosts employee happiness and promotes a better work-life balance. By empowering staff to input their own preferences and availability (in a trustworthy system where it won’t get ignored), employees have more control over their hours.

This ultimately has a positive impact on increased productivity in the workplace, but also reduces staff turnover - an expensive issue for many shift-based organisations.

Three types of employee scheduling software:

Not all employee scheduling software is the same. Rather, most systems fall into one of three categories:

HCM (Human Capital Management)

HCM software is the jack of all trades. This centralised system is often used by HR departments to streamline people management across the business. Common features include recruitment, payroll, HR administration, training, employee benefits and performance management. Workforce management and scheduling functionalities are sometimes featured as additional benefits, but are almost always basic in terms of functionality.

HCM systems are excellent for large organisations with complex requirements. A unique database means all documentation and reports are stored in one place, reducing the need for manual administration. However with this comes a hefty price tag. Setup, installation and company wide training is an intensive time and cost commitment.

Time and Attendance

Time and attendance (T&A) software is solely concerned with the employees on shift. In other words, it collects data regarding who’s clocked in, when they arrived, if their shift was approved and the time they left. This form of workforce management software helps managers to streamline payroll systems and ensure staff are paid the exact right amount for their shift.

T&A software is typically cloud-based, meaning it’s mobile-friendly and has better userface than pre-installed HCM systems. Businesses will however need to combine time and attendance technology with a shift rota app as schedule creation is generally not included.

Workforce management specialists

Workforce management specialists are a best-of-breed approach to modern-day smart scheduling. Rather than offering a one size fits all solution, this form of technology works alongside HCM and payroll with a user-friendly interface for simple integration into a company’s current operations. The software is therefore extremely flexible and suited to organisations across a variety of industries including retail, hospitality and healthcare.

But most importantly, specialist employee scheduling technology is designed with a deskless workforce in mind. It doesn’t rely on inaccessible methods of communication (such as email) and instead works seamlessly across multiple devices, making it suitable for all employees from head office to shop floor staff.

Workforce management technology is therefore the best scheduling software for the majority of businesses. Leading global brands including Pret A Manager, Lush and O2 have each optimised their employee management and reaped the benefits, saving valuable staff time and millions in ROI.

Find out more about employee scheduling software

Want to learn more? Take a look at our guide to automatic staff scheduling in 2021.

At Rotageek, we are experts in smart scheduling. Our leading employee management software is trusted by the world’s leading organisations from the NHS to Sephora.

Get in touch with one of our experts to find out more about what our scheduling software can do for your business.


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