Top 15 Employee Scheduling Software of 2017: Comparison of Leading Solutions

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Cloud and mobile technologies make it possible now to extend on-demand and real-time employee scheduling to remote workforce, further allowing you to optimize staff productivity wherever your team is. These technologies also result in the proliferation of employee scheduling software solutions that make it easy to manage staff assignments and juggle their availability for multiple events or projects. By doing so you increase workforce efficiency.

Likewise, these solutions can be empowering to employees when they are given the option to plot their work schedule. A study by the Society for Human Resource Management cited that scheduling optimization reinforces work-life balance, which increases employee retention rate.

That’s how employee scheduling software solutions have transformed from mere organizational tools to drivers of profitability today.

If you’re in the hunt for this type of software, we have collated here the best employee scheduling software solutions for this year. This guide doesn’t give the full details of each app’s specs; but it is a good reference to give direction to your product research. We tested numerous solutions based on features and ease of use, which are critical to user adoption (PJM Consulting calls ease of use the most important feature in the software business). We concluded that these are the top fifteen employee scheduling software solutions in 2017:

Top 15 Employee Scheduling Software Solutions of 2017

Which one should you consider? In most cases, opting for the top software is the easiest and best choice. For unique processes though, you need to test the app if it does meet your workflows. For example, Aladtec is our number 7 choice, but if you are an EMS provider it should fit you best. Other than the unique features, generally, an employee scheduling software should allow for the following functions:

  • Automate the creation of schedule
  • Track staff availability and time-offs
  • Allows employees to submit time-off requests subject to approval
  • Mobile access, allowing employees to use their phones to access the system
  • Time clock integrated with timesheet that is integrated with payroll
  • Identify idle time or staff productivity loss
  • Budget, sales or weather forecasting

1. Planday – Our Score: 8.9/10

Planday helps you manage employee schedule faster and with greater visibility by consolidating all related tasks to staff availability. In this crowded software category, Planday stands out for its rich feature set laid out in a simple, intuitive interface for teams of any size. After testing the best employee scheduling software solutions on our list, we concluded that Planday has the most flexibility to scale. This is important for businesses that work around various project sizes requiring staffing to be fluid. Whether you’re managing 30 or 300 staff, Planday helps you see the big picture of your operation and ensure communication is smooth between office and the field team.

Organizing staff schedule is simple; just drag and drop shifts across the calendar. Similarly, you already have schedule templates ready that fit most operations. You can tweak them to match your unique needs per project.

You can also plot your employees’ vacations and the system makes it easy to check approved, pending or declined leaves. Staff availability is synced with vacations, so you can anticipate your manpower months ahead.

Furthermore, Planday features Android and iOS apps, giving you more on-the-ground flexibility  to stay on top of staff communication, schedule and management. What’s more, Planday is arguably one of the few vendors in this category to offer unlimited customer support. While you’re expected to have a smooth experience with the software, having tech backup is practical and critical even to avoid disruptions during your events.

2. Deputy – Our Score: 8.9/10

Deputy is one of the more popular employee scheduling solutions this year, used in small events and large operations alike to manage the workforce. It has a comprehensive tool set for employee scheduling, including attendance record-keeping, performance tracker and workplace communication.

Deputy allows for one-click notification for sudden shift changes. If you have simultaneous or multiple events, this feature ensures that staffing is adaptive on on-the-ground developments, so no even is overstaffed or undermanned.

One of the features we like about Deputy is that you can integrate its timesheets with invoicing and accounting apps. You free yourself up from time-consuming payroll or billing processes. Likewise, it’s one of the few employee scheduling software solutions that features dynamic reporting for schedule budgets, sales transactions and employee performance using metrics that impact on staffing.

Deputy has Android and iOS apps and is accessible from any device via a browser.

3. HotSchedules – Our Score: 8.7/10

HotSchedules targets retail, restaurant and hospitality industries with an extensive suite that goes beyond employee scheduling. It also provides features for training, recruitment, business intelligence, labor and inventory management to service the unique needs of its market niche. It has served the demands of managers in charge of line cooks, bartenders and servers. As a comprehensive solution, HotSchedules is used by franchise networks, but is simple enough for mom-and-pop shops.

Likewise, its integration with POS enable you to view employee clock in/out in real time and with greater working time accuracy. On the other hand, a separate module called Train enables managers to train staff with a streamlined structure and track-based progress. We thought the inclusion of training in employee scheduling is practical  for operations that demand specialized skills like bartending and cooking. If constant training is a business prerequisite, this app should be one of your top choices.

4. Acuity Scheduling – Our Score: 8.7/10

Acuity Scheduling eliminates schedule mix-ups with a synchronized calendar system that alerts users of booked appointments. The software integrates with popular calendar apps like iCalendar, Google Calendar, Outlook and Office 365. Small businesses with limited budget but want an efficient cloud scheduling app will find Acuity Scheduling most useful.

Among others, the software allows for custom or branded reminders, follow-ups and confirmations. With permission rules you can also compartmentalize calendars to control who have access to which schedule. This helps you focus on each team’s schedule when you’re faced with multiple events or projects.

Likewise, the calendar can be shared on your social network via this app or embedded on your website. It has an open API for further customizing processes, an activity tracking that shows you the overall picture and email/SMS reminders for quick notifications on urgent changes.

5. Shiftboard – Our Score: 8.7/10

Shiftboard is an ideal app for small and mid-sized businesses to help them organize and distribute work schedules in minutes. Employees take the initiative to indicate their availability and the manager can quickly approve or decline time-off requests based on workload requirements. The app is flexible to adapt to various processes, for example, part-time or contractual vs. full-time, or by-the-hour vs. fixed pay rate. A small team can easily expand its manpower using outsourced help, without complicating processes from employee scheduling to payroll.

Like HotSchedules, Shiftboard also offers features for tracking employee skills and performance rating and certification for specialized positions like cooking and bartending. Even when managing dozens of employees, the app helps you to easily monitor the individual skills set and enables you to match tasks with the right staff. Other key features to note are: online job application portal, employee account profiles and centralized reporting and analytics.

6. Findmyshift – Our Score: 8.6/10

Findmyshift allows for creating staff rosters and managing shift request in one platform, ensuring employee schedules are coordinated and in synced. This eliminates instances of schedule conflicts or miscommunication between admin and staff. The use of drag-and-drop tool makes organizing schedules visually appealing. Likewise, sorting data is easy with filtering that matches your specific metric, for example, by employee, event or schedule.

The app features a built-in time clock integrated with automated reporting that shows actual worked hours. A payroll calculator automates wage processing utilizing data on timesheets, schedules, pay scale and overtime policy.

Moreover, payroll can be configured in different ways, such as, by the day, week or monthly disbursement. Key features include real-time reporting, templates and employee noticeboard.

7. Aladtec – Our Score: 8.6/10

Aladtec facilitates both simple and complex workforce management tasks by automating or streamlining processes. It is primarily designed for EMS dynamics in field like fire and rescue, law enforcement and health care, but can fit any business’ employee scheduling tasks. The software handles 24/7 shift rotations, multiple staff schedules and allows for quick and smooth communication with employees.

It fits the requirements of organizations with daily and complex employee time management needs that involve moving shifts or re-assignments to respond to urgent situations. Likewise, it can automate recurring shifts and tasks, while providing managers or supervisors with an overall visibility to track potential schedule conflicts or issues.

The software’s major features are its scheduling tool, rotational shift feature, absence management and an add-on time clock for EMS. It also integrates payroll reporting, making it an end-to-end suite for workforce management.

8. Quinyx – Our Score: 8.5/10

Quinyx features an extensive workforce management feature set, highlighted by its capability to  organize schedules based on budget forecasts. It also features task assignment, time management and communication tools. The app targets a diverse market such as restaurants, logistics, healthcare, call centers, retail and fitness.

Moreover, it helps you maximize your manpower by assigning your highly skilled staff on the most important tasks, while enabling you to shift their schedules on the fly when sudden developments occur. The result is less operational loss and better returns per event, project or operation.

Quinyx also provides Android and iOS apps, so on-location employees can access the system and their schedules in real time, while you as the manager is kept in the loop of field development. This eliminates miscommunication and ensures team members are in synced and attuned to their task schedule.

9. TrackSmart – Our Score: 8.5/10

TrackSmart is an appealing employee scheduling software if you have recurring schedules but still need to juggle staff for various reasons, among which, if you have a high employee turnaround or require continuous skills development training. It fits businesses of any size, but is particularly targeted and scalable to the needs of small and mid-sized companies. It actually features two major components: Attendance and Scheduling.

The attendance management features a dashboard that provides you the big picture with information on staff attendance, tasks, employee time-off and availability and important dates. Meanwhile, the scheduling tool allows for employees to submit their time-off requests in a centralized location, making it easy for managers to approve or decline requests based on upcoming manpower needs and schedule conflicts.

Likewise, the app provides managers access to reporting tools to highlight or track employee performance, attendance and other related insights that can be used for business decisions. You can also preset the software with labor regulations so your policies and schedules are in tune with local laws, especially as pertains to overtime work and paid leaves.

10. Homebase – Our Score: 8.5/10

Homebase ensures all your schedules are covered and all your employees are accurately paid. Aside from employee scheduling it also features time tracking, making it ideal for restaurants and bars and retail. Furthermore, it integrates with a payroll system that makes it efficient to compute wages by worked hours including overtime or under-time. This eliminates the need to log  in/out on separate systems.

Homebase also has mobile apps for Android and iOS, enabling employees to access the system from their phone and get notified in case of urgent shift changes. Conversely, managers can easily create schedules on the go and in real time and quickly notify their staff for changes or latest information.

Notable features include custom schedule templates, shift management, labor/sales/weather forecast and pin-based entry.

11. When I Work – Our score: 8.3

When I Work Scheduler is a free app for up to 75 employees. This makes it a bargain for small events or projects. While we expect a free app to be limited, When I Work has quite a robust feature set. It provides a schedule builder, availability/time-off management, shift trading, group messaging and chat and Android/iOS apps. Barring the cap on users, this app gives paid apps tough competition.

It’s easy to address staff availability when you have quick access to employee time-off and shift change requests. You can approve or decline requests immediately based on your upcoming events or projects. Conversely, employees have clear view of their reporting dates, leaving no room for miscommunication.

The app isn’t limited to small projects, though. You can upgrade to its paid plans and enjoy unlimited users, unlimited locations and other more advanced tools like time clock and  time and attendance tracking. It’s a cost-effective way to free your time without compromising employee schedules, even as you focus on sales and marketing.

12. Ximble – Our Score: 8.2/10

Ximble is ideal for managing recurring employee schedules, but is also versatile for special projects or events. A notable feature is its web-based time clock, enabling employees to clock in/out via SMS or mobile app (Android and iOS available). Likewise, it is accessible on any device via a web browser. If you frequently hold field events, having employees to check in via their phones is a big convenience and assures time accuracy.

Ximble has an intuitive interface that makes shift planning easy, using toggle to view multiple calendars quickly. It shows you the important details, such as, working hours, job roles and time-offs. Furthermore, you can sort the schedule by employee, role or department to match your management perspective. For example, if you have a high-value specialist employee, knowing his or her availability is as easy as sorting schedule based on his or her name.

Other key features we like about Ximble are: email notification, overtime limits, payroll export and fingerprint scanner support.

13. NimbleSchedule – Our Score: 8.0/10

NimbleSchedule is adaptive to small and large team operations. It is specifically designed to automate repetitive tasks and free you up to do strategic work instead. With clear visibility of staff schedules and activities, event or project disruptions are minimized if not altogether eliminated.

The app enables remote workforce management with GPS stamping and mobile accessibility. If you have multiple or simultaneous events the software helps you manage all operations in the confines of a central hub such as the office or allows you to jump from one event to another while keeping in touch with all your staff. What’s more, you can easily juggle manpower based on on-the-ground requirements of your various events. This helps you optimize shared services and keep operations costs within budget.

NimbleSchedule also features communication tools for admin-employee collaboration. The whole team communicates on the same channel, keeping everyone updated with the latest information, especially on sudden schedule changes. The app also allows employees to clock in/out using their phones for greater accuracy in calculating worked hours and payroll.

14. Humanity – Our Score 7.0/10

Humanity is unique in a sense that it allows for employees to take the lead in organizing their schedules and avoid shift conflicts. The app significantly offloads scheduling tasks from the manager’s shoulders, providing employees a collaboration platform to share and compare schedules. The software kicks in with its shift forecasting tool that detects conflicts in the calendar and alerts the manager.

Humanity also features a web-based time clock that is integrated into the timesheet.  You can export attendance details to payroll and streamline this cumbersome process.With proper user adoption, Humanity can greatly free up the manager’s time and allow him or her to pursue business activities instead of micromanaging employee scheduling-related tasks. Nonetheless, it has enough controls to ensure that the staff are properly using the scheduler and that their time-offs and availability are visible to the manager at all times.

Other key features of Humanity include timecard calculator, centralized communication and GPS location. The software also features mobile apps as a standard feature.

15. Staffjoy – Our Score: 6.8/10

Staffjoy is an open-source employee scheduling software that can be downloaded from the vendor’s GitHub page. It has a good market traction among small business owners for its capability to simplify and streamline staff scheduling and communication. It is highly adaptive to different business models, such as restaurants and cafes, QSR, warehouses and support teams. However, you need coding skills or someone with technical know-how to configure the source code.

Originally a SaaS product, Staffjoy is now offered for free with deployment care of the user, you. However, the vendor provides development service, which you can pay for to ship code and configure the software to your processes. The service will take care of setting up cloud access on Google Cloud and customizing Docker Swarm development ecosystem for your requirements.

You’ll also find the source code stable and able to smoothly automate your workforce scheduling even with hundreds of staff. Likewise, you can integrate a web calendar powered by SMS notifications to alert your staff in real time. This is handy to allow your employees to stay in touch with you or the office using their personal phones.

 

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