10 Questions to Consider When Reviewing Employee Scheduling Software
No matter what industry you are in, workforce scheduling can be a time-consuming, error-prone, and downright frustrating task. You need to match up employee availability, skill sets, and preferences with fluctuating business demand in order to maximize productivity and profits.
To boot, poor schedule management can lead to increased employee frustration, decreased engagement, and higher turnover.
The right employee scheduling software helps you put the right employees in the right shifts at the right time to minimize labor costs, overtime, and compliance risks and maximize business performance.
When starting down the path of reviewing employee scheduling software, here are 10 questions to help guide your journey.1. What drives your scheduling requirements?
Some industries have a fairly steady operational demand for shifts, and see little changes in shift requirements from week-to-week. Others are operationally driven and require forecasting tools to anticipate shift requirements. For example, hospitals are often driven by the number of patients, with shift requirements driven by hours per patient day (HPPD).
Identify those variables that drive your shift requirements, and see if there is a software that auto-generates shifts based on operational requirements (ie. a hospital staffing coordinator enter forecasted HPPDs, which generates the number of nurses required to meet the patient demand).
2. Do certain shifts require a specific skill or certification?
Whether the skill be an experience level, credential, or licensing requirement, consider whether any of your shifts need to be manned by a skilled-worker.
Additionally, consider your company policy for filling open shifts. Are veterans given preference for overtime? Are you able to sort a call list by employee tenure, skills, or performance?
3. Do you have specific state or city regulatory requirements for scheduling?
Cities like Seattle have instituted regulatory requirements mandating employers provide call-in pay to workers under certain conditions. NY State also presently has similar proposed call-in pay regulations. As these regulations become the norm, employers may need a scheduling software that can help simplify the compliance process.
4. How often are you making last-minute schedule changes?
Research show that overtime decreases as employers continue to adjust schedules prior to their start date. This practice can lead to challenges of communicating last-minute changes to employees. If this is a common practice in your organization, you may need a scheduling software that helps communicate late changes to employees.
5. How do your employees prefer to be contacted about shift changes?
Generational demographics can influence your employees’ preferred method of communication.
- Silent Generation: Prefers face-to-face interaction and phone calls
- Baby Boomers: Phone and email
- Generation X: Email and text message
- Millennials: IM and text message
- Generation Z: Images and SMS notifications
Depending on your workforce demographics, you may want a scheduling software that offers a diverse range of communication methods to effectively reach your workforce.
6. Do you want employees to be able to decline and swap shifts?
Research by Rasmussen College shows that 69% of Millennials want more freedom at work and 66% want the ability to choose projects. The increase in the number of single-family households also contributes to the increased demand for schedule flexibility. Giving employees the ability to decline and swap shifts is a way of balancing employee needs for flexibility without placing an undue burden on employers and HR administrators.
That being said, if this is not already common practice, this would be an important question to discuss with supervisors and scheduling coordinators prior to shopping scheduling software.
7. How much of your scheduled workforce uses mobile device technology?
This questions goes hand-in-hand with how your employees prefer to be contacted, but also concerns company policy on personal device usage in the workplace. A 2016 Syntonic study showed that 87% of companies expect employees to use their personal devices for work purposes.
As the workforce continues to move from tech-friendly to tech-dependent, ensure your scheduling software can adjust with the mobile preferences of younger generations.
8. Who builds employee schedules, and who approves them?
It’s important to consider all those involved with building and finalizing employee schedules, and whether the scheduling software can meet your approval workflow. Things to consider might be who has authority to approve overtime, changes that trigger call-in pay, or schedules that are over-budget.
9. Are your shift-employees eligible for personal time off (PTO) or Federal or State Leave?
If you routinely have employees that are unavailable for scheduling due to personal time off or approved leaves of absence, consider how that information is going to inform managers as they build schedules. Ideally, an employee scheduling software would alert schedulers when shifts have been assigned to an employee that is out on PTO or leave.
10. What types of reports and analytics do you want from your scheduling software?
Consider the reports you’ll need from your scheduling software.
- Budgeted Hours
- Forecasted vs. Scheduled Hours
- Variance Reports between Scheduled and Actual Hours Worked
- Open Shifts
- Employee Availability
- Schedule Change Requests
Also, who on your team needs access to these reports, and how might the executive team use them to drive initiatives to improve staffing and store performance?
About Benetech HCM and Employee Scheduling Software
Benetech is a business administration and management firm specializing in employee benefits and human capital management. Located outside of Albany, NY Benetech helps mid-market employers simplify employee benefits and HCM through a unified service team and integrated technology.
Benetech offers a stand-alone employee scheduling software, with options for integrated time-tracking, HRIS, performance management, and payroll applications. To learn more about Bentech's scheduling software, contact us for a free assessment and demo.