Roster management software

Roster Management for scheduling staff

by Angus Jones

John wants Friday off to go to the dentist, Beth cannot work Fridays and Liam is on holiday.  So, who can work on Friday?  For many small businesses rostering staff is a constant challenge. This guide will help you select a roster management software solution by helping you understand what you should take into account.

Rostering software provides a small business with a simple and intuitive method to manage staff rosters and shift structures. Most modern scheduling software also integrates with a host of other services like POS, accounting, payroll, data storage, HR systems, and more.

WHY do I need Roster Management Software?

WHY do I need Roster Management Software?

When done successfully, productivity is maximised and sales are not overrun by labour costs. Week after week, month after month, this task needs to be repeated again and again. This can become a tedious and error-prone process if done manually or on a spreadsheet.

WHAT are the benefits of scheduling software?

  1. Improving communication. Developing and maintaining a strong line of communication with your staff is one of the most important aspects of running a successful business. Many common staff scheduling miscommunications can be prevented.
  2. Increasing accuracy and efficiency. Quickly create, view, and modify schedules, handle leave requests, and keep in contact with employees about scheduling needs. Some programs include automatically populating fields, which help you spend less time manually entering names and numbers.
  3. Maintaining compliance with government regulation. Scheduling applications can be used to automatically track employee hours to prevent law violations. This feature is especially useful for companies that have employees who can legally only work a certain number of hours, such as minors or people receiving disability pensions.
  4. Monitoring labour costs. Scheduling software makes it easy to record hours and payroll data, providing valuable insight into current and future expenses. This allows you better control over budgeting and overtime costs.

HOW do I select the right Roster management solution?

Cloud-based solutions have made this software accessible and affordable to small business and you should consider the following when selecting a vendor:

  • Support – Services to help get you set up and provide the ongoing support you no matter what time of day.
  • UI – User Interface is how the information is presented. Understand how easy it is to use and its ability to be customised.
  • Job library – Ability to have different job roles and to flag which employees can perform which roles. For example, differentiating between a cook and a server.
  • Locations – If you have multiple locations the ability for an employee to be set to only work at one location or both.
  • Employee onboarding – allows paperless capture of essential contact details, tax file number, and superannuation details for new employees.
  • Shift swapping – Allows employees to swap shifts amongst themselves with or without the manager’s approval.
  • Employee availability – Both the ability to drop a shift an employee cannot make or set rules like I am not available every Friday.
  • Employee rules – Ability to set a rule such as Jane is not to be rostered on with Rudy.
  • Forecasting – The ability to have the right number of staff scheduled for a busy Saturday versus a quiet Monday.
  • Employee portal – The ability of the employee to log on via a PC or smartphone to view or administer their schedule.
  • Access – Ability for manger and workers to adapt to last-minute changes like replacing
  • Smartphone access – Ability for manger and workers to adapt to last-minute changes like replacing a sick employee remotely.
  • Auto schedule – Allows artificial intelligence to recommend the best roster with a single click.
  • Schedule alerts – employees decide how they want to get alerts of schedule updates—either via email, SMS, or simply through in-app messages.
  • Group announcements – share company-wide posts including files.
  • Leave management– keep track of employee leave entitlements.
  • Payroll & accounting integration– Integration with your other software solutions to provide integrated information for simplicity and planning. (See our essential guides on Accounting, Payroll, and POS software)
  • Time Clock – Real-time capture of working hours electronically.
  • Reporting – One area that separates good shift planning platforms from average ones is reporting. When they are forecasting shifts, businesses such as restaurants and retail stores need to know what their labour costs will be and how that relates to sales. When integrated with an accounting or POS solution, rich data can help you better plan for events like Christmas sales.
  • Security – Ensure employees can only log in as themselves and that it is simple and secure.
  • eLearning – Ability to have an online training library to ensure staff have the right skills.

This software solution is usually priced per employee per month.


Roster management software only makes sense when your staff do not work standard working hours like 9 to 5.  We also see the benefit really kicking in when you are trying to manage a larger workforce.

Various vendors can be found by googling small business roster management Australia.

SUMMARY – Save time and frustration

This software solution will reap more benefits the more complicated your staff rosters are and the higher the number of people.  This is one of those tools that, once you implement, you will not survive without.

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