Every small business owner knows that creating a well-rounded employee schedule is difficult and time-consuming. Especially if you’re still using old methods, like pen and paper. Automating the scheduling process offers consistent results, reduces mistakes and costs, increases productivity, and improves overall employee satisfaction. And we’re willing to go out on a limb and say, that’s all you’ve ever really wanted when it comes to your scheduling needs.
That’s why so many industries, like retail, construction, healthcare, transportation and even Enterprise, have made the switch to an employee scheduling software solution. It is so much easier to build a fair and compliant schedule when it is automated. Did we mention it also allows for less human error as everything is automated and if a mistake is caught, your employees can request changes straight away.
Choosing an online employee scheduling app, like Connecteam, is cost-efficient and reliable, but you might be asking yourself, “What should I look for in a scheduling software solution for my business?” Well at its core, every scheduling solution allows for auto-assigning shifts, clock-in and clock-out features, automatic notifications for new schedules and shift changes, swap shift ease and payroll importation. But there are a few more features that cause some scheduling software solutions to stand out more than others.
Consider these 4 must-have features for an employee scheduling software:
1. Real-time shift status & feedback. As a manager, you can instantly see a clear picture of your employee’s shift statuses, such as allowing employees to accept or reject a job, check-in on site and report completion when the job is done. This way, you are aware of the status of each employee and project. And if someone rejected a shift, you can find a replacement quickly. With this feature, you know right away if your employees are on the right track to get the job done.
Customize status updates when your employees check-in at the job location and can send a report once completed through shift attachments. Attachments like notes and images allow your employees to elaborate and share job-related information And, most importantly in real-time, each status update tags the employee’s current location using a GPS timestamp.
2. Collaboration per shift. Today, we spend too much time on phone calls and jumping from software to software just to collaborate per shift. Whether it’s reporting a problem, sending a status update, getting new proposals or a fixed contract from headquarters – all of this is messy and unproductive meaning managers and employees are wasting time playing catch up with all this back and forth.
Now in 2019, the feature (collaboration per shift) allows for a smooth, easy process to engage and collaborate per shift. It is easy to create a chat straight from the job site on that particular shift – you can attach and share media, docs, video, etc. in a click.
If your employee shows up to the construction site and notices a problem with one of the cranes, he can attach a picture and can ask for a repair right away. Or if a supplier arrives to drop off your order but it’s not the right product, or was broken, you can immediately take a picture and attach it to the shift so the manager can resolve the issue before the supplier has even left the store.
3. An integrated communication solution. If you need to contact an employee, or vice versa, do so directly from the scheduling software, 24/7. Plus, easily send notifications to everyone regarding announcements, updates, and scheduling changes. Whether this is an automatic message or a private chat, the software should make it easy to communicate with your employees.
Send an immediate update to all your employees on any matter and automatically track who viewed your update. Create groups or channels per department, location, or whatever is necessary so that way you can reach the right employees in a click. You can include or exclude social tools like comments and likes. Easily send an announcement, weekly goals, or celebrate employee birthdays or even work anniversaries.
Ensure the software includes an employee directory straight on the app. It can be a mess saving, editing and deleting work contacts on your personal phone. And what if you don’t have someone’s information? You will only waste time bothering another employee just for someone else’s contact information, and you can only hope they have what you’re looking for. An in-app directory allows you to search by name, location, department, job role, etc. so that it’s easy to contact the manager who operates the work schedules.
4. All-in-one. It should be incredibly easy for employees to fill checklists, forms and reports from any location – such as new employee on-boarding forms, expense reimbursement forms, vacation requests and sick leave forms, personal information updates, safety reports, invoices, a shift open checklist, equipment checkout and more. Either choose a pre-made template or create your own, either way, your employees will appreciate the time they save by filling out checklists and forms on the go.
When you have a solution that also allows for ease of onboarding, routine training, regulatory courses or providing professional skills, you know you’ve hit the jackpot. It’s all well and good to create a schedule that works for all your employees, you now need to go about training them for the job and to keep them professionally skilled as time goes on. Thing is, you don’t have time to waste with meetings and big, clunky training books. With a scheduling software app, your employees can learn on the go and at their own pace. Create chapters and quizzes that all new hires must complete. Ensure there is a library that employees can always come back to if needed, like employee handbook, company policies, catalogues and menus, sales tips and more.
One last tip – consider your users! Not
all of your employees are tech-savvy so choosing a complex solution will only
discourage use and that isn’t what you’re hoping for. Make sure the software is
easy to use across the board and doesn’t require lengthy training. Your
employees will only be discouraged if the software you choose is not
user-friendly, and the last thing you need is to pay for a software that no one
The bottom line is that most scheduling software solutions for small businesses come with very similar functions, just at different prices and different levels of specificity. At the end of it all, the decision falls down to your personal preference. Sign up for a free trial and test out the software, that’s the only way you can truly find the scheduling software that fits you and your business best.