The benefits of scheduling software go way beyond what’s possible with pencil and paper alternatives. In addition to being easier to use, scheduling software can help keep your workforce engaged and motivated.

Empower employees by giving them tools and opportunities to influence their own schedules, swap shifts, and check their accumulated hours. You might be asking: “How to use scheduling software?” The following seven tips will help you get the most out of your scheduling software and ensure your employees remain engaged.

Train for flexibility

It should go without saying, but you’ll want to train your employees on correctly using your scheduling software. New technology can be intimidating for some employees, but a brief training session should be enough to explain the basics.

Make sure employees understand how to access the features available to them. When onboarding new hires, make sure they know how to view their schedule remotely and request time off. 

Speaking of training employees on new skills, most businesses and departments can benefit from increasing the overlap between employee responsibilities. If you use a Learning Management System to cross train employees, then you’ll have more options for covering unexpected absences. This ensures adaptable and flexible scheduling.

Encourage employee input

When you’re planning out work schedules, it helps to get input from employees. Beyond the occasional vacation request, each worker will have preferences between the different weekly shifts and teams. Employees can’t always get their first picks, but they will appreciate a chance to state their preferences.

Where able, try to align schedules with employee preferences. When their voices are heard, employees are more invested and less likely to rely on calling out sick. Scheduling software makes it easy for employees to bid on shifts in advance, and the schedule creators can see those requests collected in one place.

Make schedules accessible early

As early as possible after finalizing a new schedule, make it accessible to all employees. If you have the right software for posting schedules online, then everyone—even employees out of the office—can see the new schedule.

With more advanced notice of conflicts, employees will have more time to make adjustments and can swap shifts as needed. At a minimum, employees should be able to view the latest schedule on their smartphone. If they have to wait until they go back to work, then some employees may delay checking the new schedule for an extended period of time.

Improve your response time

Try to respond quickly for time off requests. Even when you can’t accommodate the request, make sure employees know their needs are taken seriously. If conflicts are identified further in advance, then extra time will allow for a better solution and employees can make personal plans easier.

Naturally, you’ll want to get managers on board with improving response times. Supervisors and team leaders can help explain why it’s impossible to satisfy some requests. In turn, this encourages employees to submit their requests as early as possible.

Explore the added features of scheduling software

Most scheduling software will make schedules accessible online, but are you taking advantage of all the other benefits? With the right scheduling software, you can let employees:

  • Bid on shifts before schedules are created
  • Arrange and coordinate with each other to swap shifts

Together, these reduce the responsibility and workload for managers.

Automate your shift alerts

To further reduce the workload on managers, you can automatically alert employees of missed shifts and late (or early) time clock punches. Intuitive scheduling software can send alert notifications to email or cell phones, eliminating your manager’s needs to serve as a backup alarm clock for late-sleepers.

Thanks to integration with your time and attendance solution, you can also send notifications to managers to help them catch and address:

  • Overtime issues
  • Scheduling conflicts, and 
  • Missed punches

Provide mobile functionality

Employees should be able to check the schedule and request time off by using their smartphone. Sure, they could already use their phone to call a manager or HR to ask about their available PTO, but those simple questions distract from more important work. To get the most out of your scheduling software, make it as convenient as possible for employees.

More than just an easier way to create and share schedules, your scheduling solution can improve morale and boost your performance management culture. Employees feel empowered and motivated when they can swap shifts and get more involved in the schedule creation process.

It’s easy for employees to get frustrated when they completely depend on busy managers to address every scheduling conflict. The right scheduling software makes it easy for employees to see that the whole company is working together as a team.

For more information about how Netchex’s employee scheduler feature can benefit your company: