Your Complete Checklist For Choosing Employee Scheduling Software

by Rotageek on 15 June 2021

When it comes to scheduling their employees, no business is the same. Even companies in the same industry have different needs according to their individual KPIs, scheduling rules and locations.

Here at Rotageek, we’ve successfully implemented scheduling solutions for a huge variety of brands, from leading healthcare organisations to high street retailers. And along the way, we’ve learnt exactly what to consider to ensure our technology generates the highest return on investment.

Below we share the top key criteria you should use before choosing your employee scheduling software.

1) Time and attendance technology

Do you want full people management from recruitment to payroll? Only looking to track who’s clocked in and out? Or more than likely, you need something in between.

Not all employee scheduling systems are the same, so it's important to consider which type of software is best for your business. There are three main categories:

  • HCM software - a complete solution typically used by large organisations to streamline HR administration. Covers everything from employee benefits to performance management and sometimes features additional basic scheduling functionalities.
  • Time and Attendance - cloud-based software that collects employee clock in and out data to improve accurate payroll. Needs to be combined with shift scheduling technology as rota creation is generally not included.
  • Specialist workforce management technology - best-of-breed smart scheduling that works alongside HCM and payroll systems to integrate into a company’s current operations. Flexible solutions are designed to suit individual business needs rather than a one size fits all approach.

If time tracking is a key part of how you schedule and pay your employees - but you don’t want the upheaval of a completely new HR system - then a specialist system is best for your business.

Consider employee scheduling software that uses advanced technology such as geofencing and photo capture to track time and attendance. Audited timesheets are then able to automatically account for time worked vs time scheduled - meaning your payroll team can ensure staff are paid correctly without manually collating required data. 

Read more about the different types of employee scheduling software.

2) User access

The best employee scheduling software is usually cloud-based. This means your people can access their schedules no matter their location, rather than having to rely on one device or shared harddrive which doesn’t accommodate for teams on the move.

Implementation is much simpler and quicker, with guaranteed data security through authentication standards. Plus as a digital solution, cloud-based applications are compatible with most environments and prevent the need to continually update technology in order to keep up with rapidly changing computer or smartphone models.

It’s also highly recommended to choose a mobile-friendly solution. In fact not having a mobile app can be the difference between employees using the system, or not. Users will be able to receive real-time updates to their rota and join in team communication that would otherwise be inaccessible. This is invaluable for shop floor staff and multi-location teams.

3) Streamlined implementation

With the introduction of any new software comes a short period of upheaval. Processes are changed, employees must adapt, systems must be integrated. And whilst the long term gain often outweighs the momentary shift, it’s important to consider the implementation stage.

As well as the scheduling software’s specification, make sure to partner with a supplier who understands the effect the change will have on your organisation. Project communication is a crucial factor in nurturing a positive employee response. As is user training and ongoing service support.

4) Labour demand functionality

For most businesses, predicting customer demand (the exact times and days your store will be busy) is a central part of scheduling. 

Knowing that you’ll need two people on shift during a quieter morning, but then six workers over a busier lunchtime are exactly how businesses attempt to balance over and understaffing to maximise productivity and save labour costs. 

But to accurately match labour to customer demand, this needs to be a central part of your employee scheduling software.

Consider technology that analyses granular data to perfectly forecast future footfall trends. This is particularly important for organisations that are affected by seasonal events, payday boosts and bank holidays. The resulting feature is able to drive automatic scheduling that serves the same number of customers with heightened experience and less wasted labour hours.

5) System integrations 

You’ll likely have other systems in place that will need to work alongside any new technology so it's important to consider if, and how easy it is, to integrate your chosen employee scheduling software.

A solution that integrates with HCM and payroll is vital, but the best software vendors can work with many bespoke systems from task management to virtual queuing for customers. 

6) Partnership approach

Choosing the right vendor to deliver your employee scheduling solution not only provides reassurance for a positive ongoing relationship - it speeds up the rate of return on investment too. 

There are various things to consider when selecting the right supplier for your business that go beyond a streamlined implementation process. Start by evaluating their current client base. Do past projects demonstrate capabilities relevant to your organisation? 

Also, think about the flexibility of their software. Technology changes at a rapid pace and whilst a solution may be perfect for you in the short term, it will need to adapt to continually match your business needs.

Lastly, don’t forget to consider ongoing support. The long term success of new technology is heavily reliant on the provider’s ability to fix problems and solve user queries. Ensure you get the best for your business by choosing a supplier that provides direct contact with a customer service team and round the clock help.

7) Bespoke needs

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. 

The top software providers will have tools that cater for your company’s individual needs and optimise your employee scheduling even further. Look for basic user-friendly features such as automatic notifications, shift swapping, drag-and-drop, absence management, overtime rules and self-rostering abilities for heightened flexible working.

Used by hundreds if not thousands of employees across the globe, your system must be simple and enjoyable to use, so make sure to choose a solution that maximises employee engagement and productivity. 

Discover more about employee scheduling software

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

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

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