Finding the best scheduling app to manage your employees with can feel a bit like looking for a quarter at the bottom of a sack of dirty laundry: there's a whole bunch of junk to sift through.
Reading reviews. Sitting through demos. Actual hands-on experience. The process can drag on for months. Between all the bells and whistles, it's hard to be sure which features you actually need to improve your scheduling and employee management practices. While the cost of an app is important, it's the features, and how they address your needs, that should inform your purchasing decision.
So what features should you be on the lookout for as you embark on your journey to find the perfect employee scheduling app? Let's take a closer look.
Gauge and Collect Employee Availability
Whether you run a coffee shop, an HVAC company, or a work-study program, you're in the habit of having applicants fill out availability forms. And if you're at all experienced with employee availability forms [link to "employee availability form" post here], you know how quickly people's schedules can change.
Gauging and collecting availability among employees can be a real pain point. Potential employees will often fudge or embellish their availability to come off as more desirable candidates. And even if they don't, people's lives are constantly in flux. An employee with the best of intentions might think they're available when they're not, or might make a commitment they can't keep.
The best employee scheduling apps remedy these problems by allowing managers to collect availability on a monthly, biweekly, weekly, or even daily basis. Consistently collecting availability keeps your schedule full, and keeps your employees on the ball.
Delegate Scheduling Responsibility to Your Staff
Scheduling software should give each employee the power to trade and swap shifts directly from their phones. If a member of your staff is sick, or if they need a shift covered, he/she can either make a staff-wide request for coverage, or directly request a swap with another employee. More advanced employee scheduling apps allow you to give certain employees (assistant managers or shift leaders, for example) the ability to create and approve schedules without your immediate oversight.
Giving your staff the ability to manage their own schedules removes a huge burden from your shoulders. Not only does it allow you to focus on the tasks you enjoy (you know, instead of scheduling), but it will also go a long way in increasing employee accountability.
In whatever capacity, the ability to delegate scheduling responsibility to your staff is a must in any employee scheduling app.
Budget & Payroll Management
Automating your employee scheduling is great, but you're still left seeking a separate solution to handle payroll and budgeting. Instead, why not search for a solution that allows you to incorporate all three?
Find an app that attaches a dollar value to the hourly shift of each employee. Plug in your budget and designate shifts based on availability and cost. From there, you can scale up, resulting in a business with lower overhead and improved scheduling.
Easily Communicate with Your Staff
The best staff scheduling apps streamline communication within your team.
As a manager, you should be able to message either one team member or a group of team members at the drop of a hat. Your employees should be able to message one another about, well...whatever issues they are facing on a day to day basis. A comprehensive in-app messaging function eliminates the need for an app like, say, GroupMe or Slack. These are great, but they don't house all of your employees' scheduling information.
Combining the power of messaging with interactive scheduling - in one easily navigable app - makes communication a heck of a lot easier for both you and your employees.
Consistent, Accurate HR Reporting
The best reporting functionality will allow you to evaluate changes in labor costs over time, predict future labor costs, and evaluate costs-by department, employee, shift type, date range, etc. The best staff scheduling apps will have this functionality and will allow you to analyze and evaluate various cost scenarios.
Frankly, though, that's not enough. You should be able to track and measure employee performance, too.
Are your employees showing up on time? How often are they requesting time off? Are they giving enough notice before doing so? Do they have a history of being flexible, or helpful when a shift opens up? Having easy, open access to this information is critical when it comes to evaluating employee performance.
Whether it's budget or employee performance, great, easy-to-use reporting is a must-have feature in any employee scheduling app.
Selecting Your Employee Scheduling App
Employee scheduling apps are a dime a dozen these days. Your search for the "best" app should start with a simple question: what kind of functionality am I getting? The best staff scheduling apps allow you to manage your employees without additional stress.
If you want to learn more about how SubItUp fits into your quest to find the best employee scheduling app, please don't hesitate to check us out!