You are searching for software to make scheduling for your public safety agency easier. Scheduling is a vital function of your organization, and it’s so important that it is completed accurately without taking up countless man-hours. The right scheduling software will be easy to use and will handle any of your organization’s complex requirements and rules.
This four-part mini-series will take you through the main categories of scheduling software: usability, organizational rules, oversight and reporting, and integrations. We will help you understand what your scheduling software should do for you, so you can feel comfortable choosing the right software tool for your agency.
This is Part Two of the series. If you have not checked out Part One on Usability, make sure to give it a read.
Your scheduling software needs to be able to handle your complex organizational rules including union, business and fatigue rules. Often, following these rules are a legal requirement, and the consequences of breaking these rules can be costly. An excellent scheduling software will alert and stop you from scheduling in a way that breaks any rules.
FLSA & Fatigue Rules
In addition to managing the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) rules, the system should be able to warn or prevent you from scheduling an employee who has not met the minimum required rest time between shifts.
Overtime & Union Rules
You likely have different rules for mandatory and voluntary overtime, so your system needs to have custom rules set to filter employee signups. For example, a shift may initially be posted as voluntary overtime, giving priority to senior officers. If that shift is not picked up by anyone, it can be switched to mandatory overtime, making the least senior officers most eligible for the shift. Similarly, when sending out shifts, you will want to apply filters so that unintended staff (such as administrative staff or upper management) are not being sent employee sign up requests that are irrelevant to them.
Different Pay Rates
The scheduling software should be able to handle all your different pay rates, premiums, and differentials and attribute them to specific activities or shifts. For example, if an employee takes a training hour within their regular shift, the pay rate should automatically be adjusted to reflect the different activities.
Custom User Role Permissions
You may have multiple people managing different parts of your schedule and only want them to have access to certain parts. If this is the case, make sure your system allows custom user roles. For example, allowing everyone to have editing access can result in someone making scheduling mistakes. Limiting the people who can control and edit the schedule is a great safety measure.
Multiple Levels of Approval
If your organization requires multiple levels of approval for leave requests and/or signups, look for a system that can accommodate this.
There are several scheduling software systems out there that you can choose and the most important thing you can do is do your due diligence with research. This is part two of the mini-series so make sure to check out the other four parts (usability, oversight and reporting, and modules and integration) to know what to look for.
Lastly, there are two basic features that all scheduling software systems should offer you. The first is a free trial. If the company is confident in their product, they should allow you to test out the system before purchasing it. Ideally, a trial should include some of your data and employee details. And, make sure you are choosing a system with dedicated hands-on support and a 24/7 critical support line.