How to Find the Best Employee Scheduling Software

how to find the best employee scheduling software

Pros and Cons of Scheduling Methods

Employee scheduling is a crucial workforce management process that has major implications for business operations. The best employee schedule is one that balances business needs with employee availability effectively.

Over the years, the employee scheduling process has gone through many changes. Different scheduling methods include-

1. Manual- The original employee scheduling method, manual scheduling uses only paper and a pencil to create and update work schedules. This scheduling process may be more realistic for single location small businesses with few employees on staff.

Manually created work schedules generally are organized as a chart that lists work hours per employee and employee basic details. Additional information may include specific shift responsibilities and any scheduled breaks.

The manual scheduling process may appear cost effective but it actually can be the most expensive scheduling solution for your business. Employee time spent on creating and updating schedules results in many unncessary hours of labor costs each week.

The best employee scheduling software optimizes work schedules using technology that is not available to a manual schedule maker. A more ideal employee work schedule that incorporates software solutions results in more productive and profitable employees.

Other negative consequences of manual employee scheduling include difficulties with schedule distribution to staff members. Schedule distribution is especially complicated when shift swapping or last minute schedule changes occur.

While scheduling software accounts for overtime and avoids labor law noncompliance, a manual schedule does not. The risk of a costly human error multiplies when scheduling multiple locations with large numbers of employees on staff.

2. Basic software- Excel programs can decrease some of the labor costs associated with manual scheduling. While basic software helps keep the work schedule organized and eases the schedule distribution process, Excel posesses many of the same issues of manual scheduling.

There is still human error potential present with Excel shift scheduling including lack of built in checks for compliance with labor laws and regulations. While Excel may be reasonable for a small business with a minimal number of employees on staff, it is not necessarily ideal.

One advantage that Excel has over manual scheduling is that there are various formulas available for calculating overtime for hourly workers and labor costs which would otherwise need to be calculated by the schedule maker.

3. Complex software- There are many employee scheduling software programs available that are dedicated to streamlining, simplifying, and optimizing the employee scheduling process. Software solutions easily navigate multiple locations and the best employee scheduling software may even incorporate with other preexisting software solutions and tools your business already purchased, including-

  • Employee time clock
  • Time tracking software
  • Team communication platform
  • Task management software
Scheduling features include online employee accessibility and a cloud based scheduling app that provides easy use while decreasing labor costs for your business. Schedule distribution is greatly simplified, with instant real time updates presenting the most current work schedule.

Although scheduling software may appear to be more expensive than creating work schedules manually or with spreadsheets, decreased labor costs and enhanced productivity over time will make sure the initial investment was well worth it.

How to Know You've Found the Right Software

how to know youve found the right software 1603391380 1281

With so many software solutions available, business owners and human resources professionals may not know which employee scheduling tools best fit their specific business needs. The best employee scheduling software for your business may include employee scheduling features ranging from employee self service to Google Calendar integration.

Employee management should be the top priority of business owners and human resources professionals when investing in scheduling software. Scheduling software that incorporates employee availability and labor costs automatically streamline the scheduling process.

Schedule management includes scheduling tools such as templates and autofill to simplify multiple location scheduling. Employee shift management provides real time alerts about potential schedule conflicts and can instantly provide a list of free employees for an available shift.

Preexisting payroll software and time tracking software can be integrated into the best employee scheduling software. Alternatively, employee scheduling software programs may offer their own software solutions and scheduling tools ranging from a time clock to a team communication channel.

Employee self service capabilities allow employees easy use for otherwise complex tasks, including shift swapping and claiming open shifts. Not only is scheduling time decreased, but the entire scheduling process is optimized with the best employee scheduling software.

Some scheduling software programs offer paid plans billed per month while others are a one time purchase. Your business's available capital and scheduling needs should be factored into which scheduling solution you purchase.

Thankfully, there are many free employee scheduling software trials available. Although software free trials may not have all the same scheduling features available as the full version, employees can get a general idea of the software program. If a free trial option is not available for a scheduling program you are interested in purchasing, contact their customer support to request one.


  • Employee schedules are a crucial workforce management process for business productivity and profitability. Over time, a few prominent scheduling methods have been used by schedule makers including manual, spreadsheet, and online employee scheduling software.
  • Online employee scheduling offers various benefits over manual and spreadsheet scheduling processes. Benefits range from better employee time management to compatibility with preexisting programs such as payroll software and time attendance software.
  • Employee self service provides easy use with idealized shift trading and open shift volunteering capabilities. Online employee scheduling via mobile app allows schedules to be viewed per location or per user instantly with real time updates.
  • Some scheduling software offers paid plans options billed per month while other online employee scheduling software is a one time investment.