As a small business owner, you wear many hats. This is especially true during the growth phase of your business. You’re the general manager, the marketer, and the accountant. You’re the decision maker and the go-to person when things go wrong. The buck stops with you.
There then is a lot vying for your attention at any given time and the reality is that you have limited time at your disposal. Time is of the essence, and as cliche, as it sounds, time is money. You no doubt understand this. You’re always looking for cost-effective ways to streamline your business processes.
If you’re involved in creating employee shift schedules you know this can be a slow process. So slow it seems that restaurant managers spend up to 8 hours a week creating these schedules. And if you’re like the majority of managers, you use spreadsheets, calendars, and whiteboards. Not only do you have to create these employee schedules, but you have to update them. This task becomes progressively difficult as your workforce grows. Not only that but you have to account for compressed work weeks and individual employee needs. All this while wearing many hats.
Surely there is an easier way to create and update these schedules than the traditional spreadsheet? Surely there is a way that saves you time? Surely you can streamline this process?
Enter employee scheduling software. There are an increasing amount of software providers that recognize the employee scheduling challenge. Due to this, there are many employee scheduling software tools to solve this problem.
While employee scheduling software is more expensive than traditional methods, the benefits outweigh the costs. So, if this is the first time you’re hearing about scheduling software or are toying with the idea of using it, let’s set your mind at ease. Here are 16 reasons why you need employee scheduling software.
Small business trends such as “working from home” are becoming more common everyday. Businesses and service providers then are recognizing the importance of cloud-based solutions. And top employee scheduling software solutions are exactly that – cloud based.
This means your employee schedules are easily accessible and shareable from one central point. No more confusion. No more miscommunication by telephone. No more “colleagues telling colleagues” about the schedule (which can create even more confusion). Cloud access also ensures you avoid the inevitable back and forth e-mails once you publish the schedule. Also, employees cannot claim that they didn’t know about shift changes.
With cloud-based solutions, schedules are also accessible from any device – laptop, desktop, tablet or smartphone. You’re also able to send notifications via e-mail or to a person’s mobile.
Smartphones are an intricate part of our lives. So, any top employee scheduling software is mobile optimized and available as an app. The app needs to be downloadable across operating systems such as IOS and Android. This allows you to instantly notify employees upon publishing or updating a schedule. Employees are able to receive such notifications on the go – even when out of the office. Further, you’re able to make an unlimited amount of changes to these schedules.
If you’re still using a spreadsheet, you can attest to the fact that one schedule change can have a ripple effect on the entire schedule. This, in turn, can cause you an absolute headache as you try and fix it.
Employee scheduling software platforms have the extra benefit of allowing you to generate as many new schedules as you like. Not only that, but you’re able to re-use such templates. And with any immediate changes, everyone is instantly notified upon publishing of the schedule.
Through notifications on the go, employees are able to see and respond to their schedules faster. You, in turn, are swiftly notified where you need to make possible amendments to the schedule.
Mobile app access means you’re not dependent on employees logging in to see updated schedules. This is something which of course is easy to forget when things are busy. Ultimately employee scheduling software reduces delays in creating and updating schedules. Scheduling software also affords you the opportunity to adapt swiftly to sudden shift changes.
Manual data entry via spreadsheets every time there is a shift change is cumbersome. And having to communicate via text or even telephone to all parties every time there is a shift change is time-consuming and energy sapping. This is even more difficult when a last-minute shift change occurs. By having an employee scheduling software system you’re able to adapt to sudden changes quickly. All parties can be notified and shifts can be filled ensuring you’re not in a position where you’re understaffed. This is particularly important during peak season.
Cloud-based scheduling software also allows employees to connect with one another behind the scenes. In doing so they can negotiate who can fill a shift. This takes the pressure off the manager to find someone to cover the shift. Through self-scheduling employees also have autonomy to take initiative and make their own decisions. This contributes toward employee satisfaction.
An employee scheduling software tool also ensures employees are only scheduled to work when they’re actually available and not when they are busy, working, or at school.
This leads to less confusion over scheduling. And when there’s less confusion over scheduling, employees are happier, more satisfied, and inclined to stay. Improved employee retention, in turn, contributes to the success of your business.
The success of any business depends on effective communication. Employee scheduling software also provides a general communication platform. Through this platform, you and employees can interact with one another at all times. This feature, not always offered in the free plans, is available in premium packages.
Scheduling software tools also allow you to send messages to alert employees of news and events. This ensures that employees are always in the loop. At this point you may be thinking, what about employee confidentiality?
Any top scheduling software system will respect the confidentiality of employees. For example,Zip Schedules uses a closed loop messaging system. This system allows mobile communication between employees without sharing confidential information numbers. Employee scheduling software also assists with recording work hours.
Using spreadsheets for data entry often leads to a discrepancy between actual and registered hours. This is where employee scheduling software can help. All hours are correctly recorded and logged on the system.
For example, Zip Schedules integrates with a free app known as Zip Clock Time Clock. Using the app you can easily enforce employee schedules. Managers can track time punches (when employees clock in and out of work). Verifying hours then is easy. By combining the software with biometrics, you have a powerful system to prevent “buddy punching”. From an HR perspective, this resolves and disputes about actual hours worked. And from an accounting perspective, it helps with payroll.
Working out weekly wages then is simple as working hours are correctly logged. Integration with payroll providers is also easy. With Zip Clock Time Clock you’re able to publish punch reports that you can export as a CSV file. These same files you’re able to import to your payroll provider. Top employee scheduling software platforms also have built-in audit tracking. This protects you from potential audits.
You also need to be cognizant of labor law, both minor and adult. Adherence to such laws can be difficult. This is why many businesses ignore them all together. Out of sight, out of minds seems to be the mantra of many business owners.
However if ignored and not managed, you run the risk of labor law violations. These labor law violations are often accompanied by a hefty fine. This is where many employee scheduling software platforms can be of immense help. Many will have built-in alerts and notifications. These activate when you’re in breach of labor law violations i.e. when you’ve scheduled someone for too many hours.
Another reason for using employee scheduling software is that you’re able to manage time off. Via the scheduling software platform employees can submit “time-off” requests accompanied by a valid reason. You’re then instantly notified and able to approve or reject the request.
It can also happen that you schedule employees to work when actually they have time off. This is a lot more common than you think. Through scheduling software, you’re able to automatically see who’s available and who isn’t.
Top employee scheduling software also has the ability to integrate with point-of-sale (POS) and customer relationship management (CRM) systems. By doing this you’re able to leverage the data and information to make better staffing decisions.
POS data will see which times are peak times and which aren’t. Scheduling software tools account for this and adjust employee shifts. For example, your business is busiest on a Saturday evening. The POS system will feed this information into the scheduling software and assign more staff.
Apart from automated staffing adjustments, you’re also able to prevent managers from over scheduling. For example, Zip Schedules has a tool known as Zip Forecast. With Zip forecast, you’re able to predict your business needs based on sales and transactions. More employees are then assigned based on customer demand.
Scheduling software also takes your unique business needs into account and can grow with you as your company grows. As an example, consider Zip Schedules. They not only have a vast selection of different product features and integrations, they also have different plans to account for the size of your company. They grow as you grow, offering a plan for 1-20 employees ($19/month), 21-50 employees ($39/month) and 51-100 employees ($59/month).
Arguably the most important benefit you’ll realize with employee scheduling software is time savings. The majority of benefits outlined earlier, such as reduced delays in the employee scheduling process or employees being able to adjust to shift changes swiftly all have one common benefit - you save time,
Employee scheduling software automates a process that was previously manual. The system remembers any unique employee preferences. For example some employees can only work certain days of the week. The software automatically takes these preferences into account each time a new schedule is generated.
As someone who wears many hats, any tool that’s going to streamline business operations, make your life easier, free up extra time,allowing you to focus on more pressing management issues, is a tool worth having.
So why not give an employee scheduling software tool, such as Zip Schedules a go? With a free 30-day trial, you have nothing to lose.