Searching for useful shift planning software

Nowadays, the market has a lot of software that can help us to plan schedules for company shift workers. These services cover many business verticals. They consider specific issues and help save money as well as doing business more accurately.

But choose a suitable application first serious task in our quest in the way of shift work optimization. The Internet has a tonne of variants and different information. It is hard not to get confused.

Our article was created to compare a few solutions from huge services to startups. This approach will allow us to understand common features and which are most important – differences. After this article, you can make up your mind and become closer to your ideal solution.           

First of all, let’s decide which features are most significant for us. I highlighted five considerable capabilities:

  • Auto schedule creation – possibility to indicate that I need to make a shift, set details, and push the button Create. It saves me time when I don’t need to choose staff, decide who is most suitable, who has a vacation, who is ill, etc. I just want to make a schedule and be sure that is an optimal schedule. 
  • Labor cost calculation – to calculate the labor costs properly, you need to consider many details. One little mistake leads to extra fees, especially in shift work. You or your accountant must be scrupulous about the details. Or choose a suitable application.
  • Integration – there are a lot of different apps in every company, from small to enterprise. Add one more, and it will be sound like not a simple issue, particularly if we will think about spending on onboarding – learning how to work, embed in processes, etc. Better if new software will integrate with the ecosystem of companies applications and adapts to an existing process.
  • Auto staff replacement – emergencies are cases that can happen with anybody. Great if staff can find a replacement by themselves, but in reality, it does not work every time. Happens when the manager helps find a replacement and find agreement between staff. On average, this process takes about 8 hours per month. More optimal if emergency replacement adheres to a clear algorithm and doesn’t take the time of people.       
  • Forecasting – shift planning software collects data about past shifts which means automatic can predict the following shifts. Find an optimal state capable of maximizing the effect of work in every moment of the planning period.  

For our research, we have selected five services, including notable market players and startups. It includes – Humanity; When I Work; 7shifts; ClockShark, and Workforces.AI.

Let’s see how they cope with the tasks described above.

Humanity

Auto schedule creation

Schedule Maker Wizard helps to create an auto-schedule. It fills open shifts automatically or generates employee schedules based on past trends. So we as users can indicate when we have a shift then Humanity Schedule Maker Wizard creates everything by itself. The feature works conveniently and helps save time.

  Labor cost calculation

If you want to get an accurate labor cost calculation you should first create settings for the system. A user adds an overtime calculation model; maximum daily working hours; maximum weekly working hours; rates for the employee. After that set, the system will calculate payrolls according to user choice. So don’t forget to spend some time to set suitable attributes and you will not get extra fees.         

Integration

Humanity has two directions of integration. Human Capital Management (HCM) platforms and payroll systems. In the payroll systems, there are a lot of variants of integrations – I’m pretty sure you will find one that you use to pay employees. HCM within the meaning is a large platform. So if you use one like BambooHR or Workday, Humanity will easily integrate into your company software ecosystem. Otherwise, you will be forced to create a new process if you want to use this application.

Auto staff replacement

Humanity cant auto replace staff in an emergency case. So if an employee can’t find a replacement, you as a manager will do it and spend your time setting the shift. 

Forecasting

Demand/capacity-oriented schedule planning using key data and business drivers such as sales, store visitors, phone calls, ticket volume, KPIs, and more. In this way, as a user, you can plan a future schedule according to collected data which helps you understand how many staff do you need in every next shift. That is convenient for predicting future work.

WhenIWork

Auto schedule creation

Users can create a shift without staff. Then the system sends shift invitations for all suitable employees. Manager relieved of the need to find the employee by himself. On the other hand, the staff can decide when to work and what events they like most. It looks like a convenience for both sides.     

Labor cost calculation

The system creates overtime alerts and runs labor reports to easily manage overtime. Thereby you can see if the schedule has extra fees issues and take action.

Integration

Integration splits between three main areas – Payroll; Points of Sell; Business operations. But what is most important is that WhenIWork can integrate with Zapier. Service which feature is providing easy integrations of apps. That means we can integrate this software with all that Zapier offers. And Zapier offers a lot – chats, CRMs, Hr services, etc

Auto staff replacement

In the case of staff emergency replacement, the manager can send a notification to all employees. First who confirms will replace shift. One issue still exists – if nobody confirms. However, the more you sent, the more likely that shift will be confirmed. Hence it saves time to compare with finding replacement manually using a phone.

Forecasting

All forecasting tools focus on the labor budget. You can easily predict spendings and know-how much every shift costs for you. There is a lack of other metrics like load, sales, phone calls, tickets, etc. However, the labor budget mast important for forecasting.

7shifts

Auto schedule creation

With an automated schedule creator, you can let the system do the heavy lifting of creating schedules that juggle labor costs, time off and availability, sales forecasts, overtime, labor compliance, and even staff preferences. By analyzing past schedules, the scheduler will learn shift patterns and match the best employees to the required shifts in order to create your schedules.

Labor cost calculation

You can calculate your spending and also maintain labor compliance with proactive tools to help you identify compliance issues.

Integration

Because the main target of this product is restaurants, integrations focused on their needs. The integration list is full of POS systems and Payrolls. Something else is not noticed.

Auto staff replacement

7shifts can’t auto-replace staff in an emergency case. So if an employee can’t find a replacement, you as a manager will do it and spend your time setting the shift. 

Forecasting

Forecasting occurs within an auto-scheduled process. Difficult to look at separately.  

ClockShark

Auto schedule creation

The system doesn’t create auto schedules. You should use drag and drop by job or employee directly into the calendar.

Labor cost calculation

Employees select a job and labor task when they track time, so you’ll have everything you need for accurate job costing and reporting to power your project management, accounting, and payroll processes.

Integration

Here is payroll system integration and integration with Zapier. Zapier is a service which feature is providing easy integrations of apps. That means we can integrate this software with all that Zapier offers. And Zapier offers a lot – chats, CRMs, Hr services, etc

 Auto staff replacement

ClockShark cant auto replaces staff in an emergency case. So if an employee can’t find a replacement, you as a manager will do it and spend your time setting the shift.

Forecasting

Software working in realtime. Forecasting is not provided at the moment

WorkForces.AI

Auto schedule creation

Labor costs decrease through automatic control of inflated hours, unnecessary overtime, and labor law violations. You don’t need to keep in mind extra details. System forms schedule highlights potential issues and sends invitations to suitable staff. It saves time when I don’t need to choose staff, decide who is most suitable, who has a vacation, who is ill, etc.

Labor cost calculation

Application records accurate timesheets and automates wage calculations. The system takes into overtime, meal break rules, rest between shifts, week hourly count, number of consecutive workdays, etc. Your spending on labor costs under the control of the system.

Integration

The number of integrations is designed to make it easier to work in the company’s ecosystem. The onboarding process is shrinking. The speed at which you can start using the application is high.

Auto staff replacement

The system replaces the employee and notifies the manager about the action. Managers no need to find optimal change, arrange with staff, and spend time in the cause of emergency replacement.

Forecasting

The software collects data about past shifts which means automatic can predict the following shifts. Find an optimal state capable of maximizing the effect of work in every moment of the planning period. Forecasting is used to form optimal schedules and for making strategy design.  

As you see above shift planning software differs significantly among themselves. Even if the marketing materials provide the same feature names it doesn’t mean inside you find the same functionality. It makes the choice painstaking. I hope our little guide will help you. However, to summarize:

  • Full automation is hard to find, but leading companies strive for this. 
  • Important how fast you can integrate new software into your company ecosystem. The sooner you start using it, the faster it will start saving you money.
  • In the market a lot of different companies – big enterprises and startups. They differ in mobility and speed of implementation of new features. Having built a service into your ecosystem once, it will be difficult to change it.


Technologies stepped further than spreadsheets and pen and paper. Modern business implies a modern approach to processes. You can start using shift planning software today. It’s easier than it sounds. Just google with the key request that I have given above. Or even easier – try for free our application Workforces.AI

Do you want to know more about shift planning, employee scheduling software, or Workforces.AI?

Feel free to contact me.

Best regards, 
Amir Ahmedzyanov
Workforces.AI product manager

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