How Does Employee Scheduling Software Clean up a Scheduling Mess?

employee scheduling software
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Liz Strikwerda

Content strategist and corporate blogger (2000+ posts). Her work has been featured on G2's Learning Hub, Human Resources Today, Better Buys and over 500 business websites. She plays bluegrass mandolin and enjoys sailing her catamaran and hiking in the red rock wilderness of southern Utah. Connect with me on LinkedIn

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How Do You Use Employee Scheduling Software?

We’ll explain using Kate. She manages a workforce of 200. Both full-timers and part-timers. With shifts of varying lengths at five locations.

Most workers are hourly but she has a few salaried full-timers.

For each shift, she needs a team with 4 different certifications. Some of the employees are cross-trained. But not all.

Kate has a lot on her plate.

Kate’s laptop is covered with sticky notes to remind her of employee availability. Her team members text and email her day and night with shift change requests. Several times a week, an employee calls in sick at the last minute.

Kate spends four hours per week creating schedules with Excel. Plus at least two hours a day dealing with schedule changes. And interruptions throughout the day. That leaves little time for anything else.

She rarely makes it home for dinner.

Kate can’t go on like this.

Solution: Employee Scheduling Software

Employee scheduling software is Kate’s solution to the scheduling mess.

Here’s how it works…

Kate chooses a cloud-based employee scheduling software provider. She creates an account in a couple minutes.

Time to set up her company in the software.

She enters basic company details: name, address of each location, etc. It takes a couple seconds.

Then she sets up her employees. She enters each employee’s information in their individual profile. This includes contact details, certifications/experience, maximum/minimum weekly hours, standard shift length, availability, and shift preferences.

The moment of truth—time to create her first schedule.

Shift Templates and Rules

Kate opens a template in the scheduler. She enters rules for each shift. This includes how many employees/job roles/certifications are required.

She assigns a ‘home’ work group. These are the employees based at this location. She identifies which employees based at other stores can work at this store.

Drag and Drop Simplicity

Kate can now drag employees into shifts on a calendar template. She can move her cursor to extend or decrease the time of a shift.

It takes about ten minutes to fill every shift for two weeks.

When the schedule looks good, Kate pushes the publish button.

She can now marvel at the ease of automated notifications…

Automatic Employee Notifications

The system sends an SMS and/or email to each employee. It lets them know that the schedule is available. It tells them when they work the upcoming week. For employees who work multiple positions, it tells them which job role they will fill for each shift. If the employee works at multiple locations, it attaches a location to each shift.

Shift Changes

If you’re a manager, you know what comes next. Now that the schedule is published, someone needs to switch. In this case, it’s Erik. He’s scheduled to open on Friday. But he forgot that he has an appointment to get his car fixed.

Erik viewed the schedule on the software mobile app. From the app, he sends a text to co-workers asking who can take his shift. Erik can see who is qualified and available to work that day.

Alison sees the text. She wants more hours that week. She lets Erik know that she can pick up the shift. Kate approves the shift swap. The schedule is automatically updated. That way, anyone who needs to change a shift going forward has the latest version of the schedule.

Find Replacements Fast When Employees Call in Sick

The following day, Phil calls in sick before Kate leaves home for work. The app alerts Kate on her phone. She clicks on the shift and chooses ‘Who can work this?’ from a dropdown. The software presents Kate a list of available employees. If an employee is available but doesn’t like to work the shift, this will be indicated.

Kate sees that no one from the home work group can take the shift. She looks at the work group based at another location. Diane is available and lives nearest to the location for which she’s filling a shift.

Kate texts Diane from the software. Diane agrees to take the shift.

Kate Tames Scheduling!

With the new software, Kate spends less than an hour of dedicated time creating schedules.

She checks the app a couple times a day to approve shift change requests. The system alerts her if an employee doesn’t punch in for a shift. (We talk about time tracking integration below.)

With the mobile app, she can monitor operations from her phone, day or night. Or she can give admin rights to her assistant managers. Everyone works from the latest version of the schedule. They see updates in real time.


Kate’s an Employee Scheduling Rockstar

With scheduling software, Kate can:

  1. Create complicated schedules fast
  2. Communicate schedules to employees
  3. Let employees manage shift swaps (or not…)

What scheduling software did Kate choose?

TimeSimplicity from SwipeClock

TimeSimplicity is both powerful and user-friendly. Kate was creating schedules for all five locations in no time. She built templates for busy and slow seasons. She tracks employee certifications.

Build Schedules Your Way

With TimeSimplicity, Kate can fill shifts three different ways: 1. Copy a previous schedule forward; 2. Assign shifts to employees individually; 3. Let the system find best-fit employees for each shift.

She can schedule by department, work group, or location. She adds job codes and certifications to employee profiles. She can view schedules by the week or month. She can view multiple schedules at once.

As a veteran Excel user, Kate was delighted to discover that she can use Excel shortcuts with TimeSimplicity.

What about employee timekeeping?

Scheduling is connected to employee time and attendance. Employee scheduling software is exponentially more powerful when integrated with timekeeping.

Kate chooses SwipeClock’s TimeWorkPlus for time tracking. TimeWorksPlus syncs with TimeSimplicity.

The TimeSimplicity/TimeWorksPlus solution provides:

Three Months Later

Kate has been using TimeSimplicity and TimeWorkPlus for three months now. She does schedule forecasting to have basic schedules in place six months in advance. She can easily modify a schedule with a few clicks if necessary.

Improved Recruiting

Improved scheduling has helped Kate optimize labor allocation. This helps her know how many employees she will need to hire each month. And since it takes a lot less time to schedule, she can spend more time evaluating applicants. She no longer hires in a panic.

Reduced Labor Costs

She reduced labor costs 15% by using alerts to prevent overtime and overstaffing. The owners were thrilled and gave her a raise!

Her Employees are Happier

Her employees appreciate the fact that she can accommodate their schedule preferences. She hasn’t had an employee quit since before adopting TimeSimplicity.

The Company is Growing

The business opened another location. Kate assembled an all-star team for a successful grand opening. The owners don’t need to hire another scheduling manager for the new store.

Kate has everything under control.

Life is better all around.

Kate doesn’t work 60-hour weeks any more. She’s home in time to have dinner with her kids. She can walk her dog every evening. She took her first vacation in three years.

Need to tame a scheduling mess? Schedule a TimeSimplicity demo today.

Simplify HR management today.

Simplify HR management today.

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