Managing your workforce can be a time-consuming and complicated task, especially if you have multiple departments across multiple locations. Assigning shifts and creating schedules based on availability, skills and needs are often a real challenge without the right tools.

Fortunately, rostering systems can help. This software automates your rostering process to not only save your business time and resources but also boost efficiency and productivity. So, let’s take a closer look at rostering systems and find out how to select the right one for your business.

What are rostering systems?

Rostering systems, also referred to as workforce management systems, scheduling systems, and even rota-planning systems, are software tools designed to help companies create and manage employee rosters more easily.

Using information like employee availability, staffing budgets, and business needs, rostering systems automate many of the repetitive tasks involved in creating rosters to help you make sure you have the right employees working at the right times.

For example, you can use rostering systems to:

  • Create rosters and schedule shifts
  • Send rosters directly to your teams
  • Log hours worked and absences
  • Manage and record annual leave
  • Store important employee information
  • Calculate labour costs
  • Generate attendance reports

Why use a rostering system?

Rostering systems are designed to make your life easier by simplifying the rostering process and automating manual tasks. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they offer a wide range of benefits, including:

Improved accuracy
Automated rostering ensures that staff aren’t scheduled to work when they’re on leave or unavailable. This means no more mix-ups and missed shifts. What’s more, everything is stored securely in a single platform, making it easy for managers to see who is on shift.

Reduced costs
Real-time visibility into your workforce allows managers to make informed decisions. For example, availability data keeps everyone on the same page, minimising both lateness and downtime. Plus, detailed cost data can help avoid over-rostering and unnecessary overtime.

Increased employee satisfaction
Send rosters and updates directly to your employees via an app, avoiding the hassle of paper rosters and emails that get lost in junk or spam. What’s more, self-service portals allow employees to submit unavailability requests, leave requests, and swap shifts by themselves.

Enhanced compliance
Rostering systems also make it easier for companies to comply with employment law, for example, maximum working hours, breaks and time between shifts. By flagging any potential issues ahead of time, managers can make changes to avoid any oncoming issues.

How to implement a rostering system

Implementing a rostering system may seem like a daunting task — especially if it’s something new to your company. But fear not. Here are five simple steps to help you implement a rostering system in your business:

1. Make a plan
Start by understanding what your business needs from a rostering system. Consider things like how many employees you have, what types of shifts you use and what features you’ll need (for example, skill matching or time-off management).

Bear in mind that many rostering systems can also integrate with other tools, including payroll and time and attendance tracking software. You might also want to consider artificial intelligence (AI) to automate more complex scheduling tasks and even predict demand.

Whatever you prioritise though, make sure you involve anyone who will use the new system in the planning process. This will help you better understand your needs, draw up a clear plan and timeline, and ultimately minimise any resistance to change.

2. Choose a system

Next, it’s time to get researching and see what systems are available. Keep in mind that a rostering system should align with your specific needs. Rather than holding you back or causing headaches, it should have the features and flexibility to help you improve your rostering process.

Common features of rostering systems include:

  • Employee profiles
  • Automated scheduling
  • Shift-swapping
  • Communication tools
  • Real-time updates
  • Employee self-service portals
  • Reporting tools
  • Compliance management

We recommend looking out for a user-friendly system that fits well with your existing software setup. Easy integration can make your life a lot simpler, but don’t forget to consider other factors like scalability, cost, customer support and updates.

Keep in mind that many rostering systems are now cloud-based. Among other great benefits, this means that you can access them from anywhere and on any device without needing to install large programs. Plus, they also keep your data and rosters synced and fully up to date.

Top tip: make sure to try a system before making any final decision to ensure it’s a good fit.

3. Set it up

Once you’ve decided on a rostering system, it’s time to set it up and tailor it to your business. For example, you might need to set up shift templates, define employee roles, create locations and assign scheduling rules. Here’s roughly what to expect:

  • Setting up user accounts for managers and staff, including creating login credentials and assigning permissions, such as who can create schedules, approve time off and view sensitive data
  • Entering employee information, including names, roles, contact details and working hours
  • Changing the settings to match your policies, including defining shift lengths, break times and overtime rules
  • Importing any existing data, such as employee schedules or shift patterns

Top tip: test the system thoroughly to ensure everything is working properly before rolling it out to all users. This will help you weed out any technical difficulties before they can cause problems.

4. Train your staff

Most modern rostering systems are intuitive and easy to use. However, training is still vital to ensure staff feel fully comfortable with the new system. Beyond simply navigating the software, make sure you cover everything your teams need to know, including:

  • How to create rosters
  • How to enter employee information
  • How to manage shift swaps
  • How to distribute rosters
  • How to message employees

Remember that training should be as interactive and hands-on as possible. Guides and video tutorials are also helpful. Like any software, however, rostering systems are only as good as the staff using them, so proper training is essential.

5. Monitor the system

Now that your rostering system is up and running, it’s time to make sure that it’s meeting your scheduling needs and not causing employees any headaches. It’s a good idea to review the system either weekly or daily, depending on the size of your company and how recently you implemented the software.

Monitoring might include:

  • Using feedback from staff to improve training, fix issues and discuss additional features
  • Analysing data to identify trends, ensure compliance and improve scheduling
  • Reviewing metrics for valuable insights into labour costs, shift coverage and compliance

Monitoring your rostering system not only helps you stay compliant and keep your employees happy, but it also helps you spot any issues at an early stage before they cause major disruptions, for example understaffing or scheduling conflicts.

Is a rostering system right for you?

Rostering systems are perfect for a wide range of industries — from healthcare and hospitality to retail and public services. They are a great tool to help companies better manage their workforce, getting the right staff with the right skills in the right place at the right time.

Say goodbye to outdated rosters and missed shifts with the ADP workforce management system. Our powerful rostering system is perfect for businesses of all sizes with a range of features, from time and attendance tracking to automated scheduling, leave management, and analytics.