6 Best Employee Scheduling Apps For Your Business

Employee scheduling is the bedrock of workforce management.

At a quick glance, it’s simply about filling shifts and scheduling employees to meet customer demand. But it’s more than that; it’s also about gathering data to help you manage your business effectively in the future. If you’re only focusing on the scheduling and ignoring the data, it’ll catch up to you.

Getting employee scheduling right—meaning both scheduling and data collection—helps you keep your labor costs in check and maximizes your profits. Get it wrong, and your budget flies out the window as you pour money into the problems of employee turnover and frustrated customers.

Thankfully, gone are the days of building your employee schedule with pen and paper, but if you’re not using the right employee scheduling app, you might still be missing out. There are lots of apps to choose from, and it’s tough to know which one is right for you. Sometimes it feels easier to avoid the change altogether.

We want to see you use the right tools to get the maximum benefit, so we’ll cover some of the top employee scheduling apps in detail to help you decide what’s best for your business.

When I Work

When I Work is a full-featured app with a simple user interface that makes scheduling, payroll, communication, and planning happen all under one roof. Because it connects everything you need for true workforce management, the real-time data it gathers is accurate and connected to how you will use it in the future.

When I Work offers different plans that make it flexible for everyone, built to scale for any size business. It’s especially useful if you’re shorthanded, since its use of templates and other automation require significantly less time and effort, no matter how complicated your shifts and employee schedule is. 

While When I Work has lots of features, including GPS time clocks and payroll integration, let’s look at a few game changers when it comes to actual employee scheduling.

Pros

Swaps and drops

Employees can drop or swap shifts direclty with each other in a the app.. Your scheduling templates and overtime settins will keep shifts staffed as needed.

Auto Scheduling

All you have to do is define what positions a shift needs, and with one click, When I Work will find who’s eligible and available, quickly and accurately

Scheduling Templates

Create templates to make sure you have a certain number of employees, or a certain skill set on each shift.

Shift Bidding

Employees can see what shifts are available and grab those they’re interested in and qualified for. It’s a great way to fill a shift if someone calls in or no-shows.

Multiple Location/Job Sites

You don’t need to split the scheduling or use multiple accounts to manage all employees, you can use When I Work to schedule everything from one place.

Overtime Visibility and Management

Define and limit swaps and scheduling that lead to overtime. Use the dashboard to track overtime and spot trends early.

Ease of use

When I Work is easy to start using, and keep using. On Capterra, it was voted best return on investment, and fastest to implement. You can access it from anywhere, at any time.

Mobile app

With consistently high ratings from its users (4.8 in the Apple app store/4.7 in Google Play) it’s the one stop place for all workforce management communication.

Cons

Trial-based

When I Work isn’t free, but you can give it a try with a fully-featured 14-day free trial. You’ll find that the price is worth it for all of the time savings and data you’ll get. Plus, your employees will love it.

We may be biased, but we truly believe our employee scheduling app is the very best. Really. We’re the only app with all of these features (and more!) with an intuitive drag-and-drop user interface that millions of employees and managers actually like using. Consider starting a free 14-day trial today and decide for yourself.

Homebase

Homebase helps you post to job boards and manage employee schedules once workers are on board. Think of it more like an HR tool that plugs into some aspects of employee scheduling, ideal for small businesses that might not have an HR department.

Pros

Schedule Templates

Create templates that make building an employee schedule easy, instantly sharing them with the rest of your team.

Time Clock

Almost any device can be turned into a time clock if it can run the app. Break and overtime laws are built in, making sure you stay compliant.

Ease of use

Homebase offers drag-and-drop functionality, and attractive calendar and dashboard views. Your plan choice determines your control over automation, data tracking, and employee experience.

Cons

Pricing

Varies from a basic free version up to $99/month, on a per location basis.

Limited Features

Some time tracking features are available only in some pricing plans.

Training Required

Some of the settings aren’t available, are limited, or tricky to adjust correctly, and you’ll need to get training before you’re up and running.

Homebase is unique in that, depending on your plan, you get some HR tools, such as compliance, performance tracking, and gauging employee happiness. There is also an always-free plan, though it is significantly limited in what it offers.

Shiftboard

While Shiftboard has many of the same features other scheduling apps have, it’s more geared for staffing, manufacturing, and healthcare. It offers two options, SchedulePro (for production focused business, like manufacturing) and ScheduleFlex (for service oriented businesses). Shiftboard is geared for large or enterprise businesses.

Pros

Specificity of data

Because of Shiftboards two-pronged approach, it has features finely tuned toward the kinds of organizations it was built for, including dashboards built for compliance outcomes, coverage, and business logic.

Automated scheduling

Create automatic schedules based on your workflows, and plug in industry-specific concerns (e.g. emergency response teams, line changes).

Mobile workforce schedules

If you have employees on the road or teams with full-time, part-time and temporary workers, you have the ability to split shifts between locations and departments.

Cons

Must reach out for information

Price varies and you have to contact the company directly to request a demo.

Unhelpful Data

If you’re not in the targeted industries and don’t need very specific data, the dashboard can be confusing and generate the wrong data.

Steep Learning Curve

There’s a steep learning curve. There’s a level of complexity to build in the automation for your specific workflows you need.

Slow Adoption

There is some documentation available, but training may be a challenge.

Sling

Sling is all about employee scheduling and communication, with tools that help you create weekly labor budgets, and track paid time off to keep costs under control. Like many other employee scheduling apps, Sling helps you manage employee time off and deal with shift swapping. It’s mainly geared for small to mid-sized businesses.

Pros

Time Clock

Mobile and kiosk-based time clocks integrate with the schedule to make it easy to track employee attendance. Every mobile phone is a time clock, with location-specific functions available.

Copy and recurring schedules

You can copy and use previous schedules. You can also set up recurring shifts, let employees swap shifts, and get alerts for conflicts. Google calendar integration is possible.

Communication

Create templates to make sure you have a certain number of employees, or a certain skill set on each shift.

Cons

Confusing Pricing

Pricing can get confusing. There’s a free option,and up to $4.00 per user per month. You’re only billed according to who uses the app each month.

No free time tracking

Time clocks are not available in the free package. A kiosk time clock is only available in the business package.

Limited plan options

Premium More robust templates and automation tools are more expensive.

Monitoring required

News feeds require you to monitor content and watch for inappropriate postings or responses.

Connecteam

Connecteam packages scheduling and time clock functions with task management and digital checklists. If you’re a business in need of including shift tasks and notes for employees, you may like this approach. It’s ideal for mid- to enterprise-sized businesses.

Pros

Easy scheduling

With multisite and multi department scheduling, combined with a drag-and-drop interface, it’s easy to build a schedule for your team.

In-app communication

Employees can chat with each other directly and refer to an employee directory. Managers can also create other kinds of communication posts in the app feed.

Payroll functionality

Set the payroll period and connect your schedule and time clock to your payroll provider.

Cons

High starting price

Pricing starts from free to $159/month, based on features and 50 users. After 50 users, there is an additional fee per user. Many functions are limited to the number of users or the number of times they may be used per shift.

Limited plan options

The level of features you have access to is limited by your paid plan.

Limited communication tools

Free and lower-priced packages limit what kind of communication is available. With the wide variety of communication types, and employee information, care has to be taken that no harassment or privacy issues occur.

Limited free option

As with many of the features, the free plan doesn’t offer the payroll function.

Humanity

Humanity is a popular scheduling app with a lot of the features we’ve seen in other apps. It’s geared for small to large businesses, though at an enterprise level you’ll need to call Humanity directly to discuss what you need and pricing. 

As a cloud-based system, managers and employees can access the schedule and communicate from any device, anywhere. Depending on your plan, integration with time clocks, compliance, and policy documentation can be stored in the system and accessed easily as well.

Pros

Centralized admin dashboard

Humanity makes monitoring your shifts, employees, and overall data easy with a centralized dashboard.The dashboard is available in all plans.

Automated scheduling

You can automatically fill your schedule, saving time. With one click, you can fill open time slots with available employees.

In-app communication

Employees can communicate with each other directly in the app, receive notifications, and add notes to their time schedules.

Cons

No free option

There is no free option. Pricings starts at $3 per user per month with a free trial option. More features are available for $4 per user per month, with an enterprise solution available only by speaking to a sales rep.

Limited plan options

The level of data you have access to depends on your plan. Higher level data, such as real-time labor cost and budgeting, are only available on upper tier plans.

Limited features

The lower-priced plan does not offer automatic scheduling.

Lacks communication functionality

All plans offer in-app communication but some features, such as the notes option, only function when an employee is clocked in. This may lead to employees asking admins to add notes or correct an issue. Secure messaging is only available to higher tier plans.

So, how do you choose?

This is a list of impressive apps, and there are even more out there. How do you go about choosing which one is right for you?

Think about the headaches you’re dealing with right now in scheduling and workforce management. Think about the size of your team, and any unique aspects to how your shifts must be set up. Finally, consider how you’ll need the tool to scale and grow with you. Which app checks all of these boxes for you?

Then, talk to your team. Could they check out the mobile apps in the next meeting? What kinds of communication tools would they find helpful? Does everyone have a mobile device? Is there equity in accessing the schedule and other tools?

The best employee scheduling app is the one that fits your budget, your team, and solves your issues. It works how you work, integrating with the tools you already use. But remember, don’t get lost solely in features. Consider ease of use, because the best app is the one you’ll use.