11 Employee Scheduling Software Features to Look For

Manually building employee schedules often takes time and energy that may be better spent on other tasks. The features many worker scheduling software systems provide let you quickly manage the shift assignment process, then return to your work. Learn more about what employee scheduling software is and the beneficial features many employee scheduling platforms provide. 


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What is employee scheduling software?

Employee scheduling software is a system that streamlines and simplifies the process of scheduling shifts to hourly employees. It automates worker scheduling with features like automatic scheduling, payroll tracking and shift swapping. This software makes it easy to monitor and build your employees’ schedules while giving you more time to focus on other big-picture tasks.


Scheduling software features for small businesses

There are several employee scheduling tools available to make your scheduling process more efficient. Choosing the right software for you depends on the needs of your business and employees. Here are key features to look for in an employee scheduling software: 



With a mobile-friendly feature, employees can easily view their shift right when it’s posted. When they want to trade shifts, they can request shift changes or trades directly from their mobile device. You’ll monitor, approve and finalize which employees are working certain shifts. You’re also able to schedule and approve shift changes from your mobile phone or tablet when you’re away from your desk. 


Employee self-service

Many user-friendly platforms have employee self-service features that let workers manage schedules on their own. They can complete simple tasks like viewing their schedule, clocking in and out, claiming any available shifts and swapping their shifts with other employees. This helps your employees feel more in control of their schedules and saves you from spending time completing these minor tasks for employees.


Third-party integration

To better streamline your payroll, employee management and scheduling systems, many scheduling software programs easily integrate with other platforms. This way, all of your employee information is in one place. Some software charges you for third-party integrations, while others offer free integrations for certain systems they partner or collaborate with. Integrate this software with business systems like accounting, payroll, workforce management or human resource management tools.  


Trend observation and scheduling effectiveness

Some employee scheduling software platforms monitor your regular scheduling system and use analytics to provide suggestions to strengthen your shift assigning process. It monitors trends like employee preferences and common patterns in your scheduling to recommend changes as you assign shifts. The software system also stays alert on compliance and regulations to ensure you’re creating a fair work schedule for employees. 


Payroll tracking

Software with payroll information included makes it easier to calculate your employee’s pay based on how many hours they’ve worked. With a payroll tracking feature, the gross pay an employee earns is automatically calculated as soon as they clock out of their shift. Some platforms allow you to see the total earnings an employee has gained that week based on the hours worked. Copy this information over into a separate payroll system or export it using a third-party integration feature, if the software allows. 


Absence management 

Tracking employee absences lets you efficiently handle your payroll processes and remain aware of potential gaps in your schedule from absent employees. It also enables you to track when employees call in sick and request paid time off. This feature informs you of when an employee requests a vacation or leave of absence to ensure it’s covered ahead of time. Employees can also request time off using this feature. 


Employee profiles

If you have many employees on staff, an employee profile feature lets you organize your employees and their information. For businesses in several locations, you’re able to sort employees according to locations, so you can track and manage employees in any area. You can also sort employees by departments. Each profile typically includes the location or department employees work in, their payment information and other personal information you want to add for reference. 



This feature lets you automate and simplify the schedule creation process. It remembers your previous schedules, references your employee’s time-off and overtime requests and ensures your employees receive enough hours each week. It uses this information to automatically input hours into the schedule for your review. You’re also given the option to copy previously-made schedules and paste them into current ones. 

Related: Types of Work Schedules for Employees: A Manager’s Guide


Analysis and reporting

Most employee software systems analyze and collect data like how much your employees work, times they take off and the income they each earn during a certain time period. Some features use this information to develop certain insights on information like labor costs and financial reports. You may also have the option to export this data into a report using one of the software’s templates. Easily present this data and supporting analytics to shareholders, partners or other team members.  


Time management 

This feature oversees your employees’ schedules and ensures they’re correctly reporting their times. For instance, if an employee forgets to clock out, the system will notify the employee that they’re still clocked in after their shift has ended, giving them the chance to return to the system and correct the error. Most time management features also notify you of any unusual occurrences to give you the chance to quickly review and add any necessary changes to timesheets. 

Many time management features also send automatic updates to remind employees to clock in or out at a specific time. This helps reduce errors in employees’ time sheets and during the payroll process.


Schedule overview

With this feature, you’re able to view schedules in various formats like weekly, biweekly or monthly. View any schedule gaps to better understand where you need additional coverage. Some features allow you to filter this by specific shifts, locations, times, departments and roles.


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