Employee scheduling or staff rostering has changed dramatically over the years. What started as a pencil and paper exercise, has evolved to be done through excel, software and finally cloud rostering software.
While the days of pencil and paper are gone, there are still a number of people who use excel templates to roster their staff. This is perhaps because it’s accessible and people know how to use excel (at least the basics), but if you’re someone thinking of using an excel template to roster your staff, there are a few things to consider:
The reality of using an excel rostering template
Even though if you get an excel rostering template, you don’t necessarily have to build out many of the rules, there’s still going to be considerable set up time to make sure that you have the correct staff, pay, award interpretation etc. so that your rostering template works correctly.
Even though it seems simple, if you’re not very familiar with excel, using an excel template to roster your staff is actually a pretty daunting task.
Access to the roster
With excel being a computer based software (one that’s not online), it means your roster will always be tied to a computer. While you can certainly save and send your excel roster template to others, you’ll always have to ensure you have the latest revision, the person receiving it understands how you’ve set it up, and things such as pay rates will be visible – not something you want to necessarily share with staff!
The other downside is if you get sick – who’s going to get access to your computer or know how to work the roster?
Of course, you can try using Google spreadsheets as a rostering template, but there are restrictions in doing this, and even more so, you’ll still lack all of the other benefits to cloud rostering software.
One of the biggest problems in using an excel template for rostering is communicating with staff about their rosters. Making sure everyone is available and organised is a nightmare, and organising a roster more than a week in advance often means numerous reiterations and communication between available staff.
An important consideration, especially for those of us in Australia, is award interpretation. Award interpretation is the calculation of pay based on things such as overtime or industry standards.
While it’s certainly possible to do award interpretation in an excel template, it’s probably not the best idea to. Calculations need to be accurate and having numerous employees in a variety of roles, working a range of times can get complicated fast. If it’s not set out correctly, this also becomes a headache when you’re trying to work out payroll.
It’s much smarter to use rostering software to work this out for you.
You can ask your staff to give you their clock in and out times, but are they accurate? If one of your employees is sick or can’t attend work, do you always find out in time, and have a backup plan of who can work? Do you have hundreds of staff and need to ensure their time and attendance is accurate?
Organising all of this eats up your time quickly, and more often than not, you’ll have to over-manage your staff to ensure you have a smooth running business. This isn’t good for you, and it certainly isn’t enjoyable for your staff. Using time-clock and attendance software solves these issues, giving your staff autonomy and saving you time.
When you’re organising a roster it’s easy to forget when everyone has leave. Not only that, even if you don’t forget, by using an excel template, you’ll have to manually check each and every staff members leave to ensure you aren’t rostering them when they’re unavailable. The more employees you have, the more difficult this becomes, taking up more valuable time.
When it comes time to paying your employees, using an excel template means you once again have to spend unnecessary time in calculating figures. With online rostering software, this is as simple as clicking an export button to your payroll or HR system.
Notification of changes
As I’m sure you know, it’s quite common for employees to miss shifts, have emergencies or changes to working arrangements. Running your rostering through an excel template often leads to communication breakdowns and a scurry to fill shifts.
With rostering software, you’ll have the benefit of having 2-way SMS, email and in-app notifications to allow you to easily communicate with staff, allow staff to swap shifts (with approval) and get notifications when changes occur. This happens all in one place and is accessible anywhere you have the internet.
If you’re thinking about using an excel template for rostering, the final consideration is the layout and usability. While you can adapt excel to be more appealing and easier to see your employee’s roster, excel was never made for rostering staff.
This might not seem like such an issue when you’re only rostering three staff members, but as your business grows and you employ ten, twenty or two hundred staff, having a well structured and clearly visible rostering system makes a considerable difference in the amount of time you spend rostering staff.
While it may seem like a simple solution to rostering your staff, excel templates end up being more trouble than they are worth. For as little as $2 per employee per month, you can have an entire system with support and payroll integration – an investment that easily saves you that much money in time.