If you are reading this, then you’ve obviously decided to take the leap. No more scribbling rotas on pieces of paper, or continually updating your Excel spreadsheet. Breathe a sigh of relief. Life managing your team is about to get a whole lot easier.
But, with so many options when it comes to choosing staff rota software, how do you know exactly which shift planner is for you?
We’ve put together a list of the most common features and what they do, to help you get your time tracking and shift scheduling under control.
Here are our top 11 features to consider when purchasing staff rota software.
1. Free Trial
It’s always a good idea to try before you buy. It may seem like the software you are looking at ticks all of the boxes, but there’s no better confirmation of how good a software package is until you actually start using it. Most decent shift-planning software will come with a demo and a free trial so you can get a feel for the interface and features available before you commit to your purchase or monthly plan. Beware of free software downloads as they aren’t always safe. Be sure you are purchasing software from a bona fide company.
2. Mobile access and alerts
In our modern times, it’s imperative you choose rota software with an App for iOS and Android. It means your staff can easily check rotas while out and about, and managers can create, update and delete shifts easily. Employees can also update their availability in real time, enabling you to keep on top of who’s available and when.
3. Time logging and clocking in
Keeping on top of timesheets can be a real pain. Choose staff rota software with a clock-in app, and your staff can clock in quickly and independently as soon as a shift begins. A clock-in feature with location-specific rules will ensure your staff can only clock-in when they’ve reached their place of employment, or they can only access the clock-in once they are logged into the company wifi.
4. ADP Integration
Scheduling software that offers ADP integration (automatic data processing integration) enables you to streamline information into other systems in your business. This makes payroll, accounting and HR a whole lot easier.
5. Messaging tools
Having a system that allows you to communicate with your team quickly and easily will ensure no message slips through the cracks. With advanced messaging tools you can quickly update staff on any changes directly to their phone. Messaging tools as part of staff rota software will enable you to send messages to individuals, specific groups or the whole company.
6. Features relevant to your business
When choosing shift planning software, you’ll need to factor in how relevant the software is to your industry and its ease of use. The process needs to function in the best possible way for your business to run smoothly. Some rota planning software is designed with specific businesses in mind, such as the restaurant sector. Make sure the features you choose are relevant to your business.
7. Shift swapping
Give your employees some autonomy and let them take control of their shifts. A shift-swapping feature will mean you don’t have to be involved in the mundane task of finding cover, leaving you more time to get on with growing your business.
8. Employee availability and holiday planning
This feature enables you to keep track of holidays and shift planning all in one place. You won’t be able to schedule someone in for a shift if they have an approved holiday on the system. Employees can quickly and easily request time off, keeping you on top of availability and cover requirements. Staff can also tell you when they prefer to work and why. You’ll know not to ask certain employees to work on days they can never do, due to other commitments.
9. Forecasting and Reporting
When you are focused on the day-to-day running of your business, it’s sometimes hard to get a bird’s eye view of what is going on. Being able to forecast shift patterns, plan rotas and combine data in easy-to-understand reports will help to streamline a whole range of administrative tasks. Look for reporting features that allow you to pull up charts on weekly hours, absenteeism, employee information and holiday bookings.
Introducing a new system at work isn’t always easy. Choose a rota software package with easy-to understand tutorials and staff will be on board with the new system in no time. It’s also a good idea to check out the interface and ensure it’s easy to use before you commit.
11. Additional HR features
If you are a small business, it’s unlikely you will need rota planning software with all of the HR bells and whistles appropriate for a big corporate. However, choosing a rota-planning software that allows you to implement additional features as you grow could be a wise financial move. It could also save you the hassle of swapping systems in the future.
There are a number of things you should consider when buying business software. Getting your choices right are essential to the success of your business. Good luck!
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