Shiftboard (which begins at $45 per month for up to 50 active employees) is a dynamic, diverse, and powerful employee scheduling and shift planning tool. Unlike our Editors’ Choice tool Deputy, Shiftboard’s calendar view, where you’ll spend a majority of your time, is quite crowded and messy. Users will also be disappointed to hear that there are no user forums for administrators or employees who’d like to speak with external users in order to improve or adjust usage of the tool. Despite these flaws, Shiftboard is one of the best shift scheduling tools on the market, one that is certainly worthy of your consideration.
As I previously mentioned, Shiftboard’s entry-level Lite plan costs $45 per month for up to 50 active employees. This package includes access to the web-based mobile apps, email and text-based alerts, availability tools, and phone support. Plans increase as your staff grows or as your feature needs increase. The Standard plan, which costs $120 per month, gives you access to 75 active users, custom branding, time sheets, payroll exporting, and manager notes, among other features. The Plus plan costs $276 per month for up to 125 active users and access to the company’s web-based application programming interface (API), custom scheduling, and document storage. The Silver plan, which costs $476 per month, gives you access to 200 active users, the company’s full open API, single sign-on security, and a dedicated account manager. The Gold plan costs $976 per month, which gives you access to 350 active users, up to 100,000 staffing profiles, multi-site dashboards, and more.
Compared to other tools we reviewed, Shiftboard is affordably priced at the lower levels but more expensive as your needs become more complex. Here’s how it compares to a few other tools on the market: Deputy is one of the most affordable plans; it starts at $1 per user per month for scheduling, announcements, tasking, and 24-hour support. The tool can be upgraded to $3 per user per month for payroll integration, and reporting. The Enterprise plan, which features customized pricing, gives you access to customized roles, permissions, and extensions. Snap Schedule is the most expensive tool in its class; it costs $450 per scheduler with an extra $900 for 25 employee self-service credentials. Shiftboard is most comparable to Humanity, which starts at $49 per month for 20 employees, $189 for up to 100 employees, and customized pricing for more than 100 employees.
The Administrative Interface
Shiftboard’s gorgeous user interface (UI) is loaded with buttons and fields, which means that you’re always a button-click away from any of the features or fields you’ll need to get started. The dashboard’s main navigation is broken down by People, Teams, Calendars, Opportunities, and Who’s On (the timecard section of the tool). Although we prefer the left-hand navigation that you’ll find on other tools such as Ximble, it’s still a clean and operable design that isn’t cluttered or messy.
As I mentioned in the introduction, the Calendar view is where the schedule lives. As an administrator or manager, the majority of your time will be spent in this view. At best, this view is cramped and messy; at worst, it’s a hindrance that will require heavy squinting or use of binoculars. Despite how cluttered it is, the Calendar view contains everything you’ll need to plan shifts, oversee a particular employee’s workload, and make micro or macro changes. Employees and shifts listed in the Calendar view are broken down by Red (Available) and Green (Assigned) fonts.
You can filter to parcel out the right information, including sorting the calendar by available shifts so that you only have to deal with what’s necessary in the moment. With one click you can pop over from the Calendar to the Assigning Shift page. This is a bit clunky as some other systems let you plug in options directly within the calendar without having to click out. But it’s not as bulky as other tools that require multiple clicks to make shift changes. Within the calendar you can sort and configure based on times, locations, and skills. You can show excluded staffers, including the reasons why he or she isn’t on a specific list.
Within the People tab you’ll be able to see employee statuses, which are depicted via abstract icons (a sun for Available, a half-moon for In-Process, and a badge for Wait-listed). These badges aren’t intuitive at all. This isn’t a big deal for daily users but new users will have to get adjusted to it. To add new users to the system, Shiftboard allows bulk onboarding via a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, so there’s no need to assign an unlucky intern with the task of loading all of your employees into the software. Shiftboard offers four prebuilt templates which you can use to create monthly or annual mass shifts. Each of the templates is semi-customizable, allowing you to automatically run conflict checks, add preset parameters (like maximum hours assigned), and auto-assign shifts to specific employees regardless of their statuses.
The Team tab lets you break your employee database into different locations and segments of your workforce, which limits how much you’ll have to wade through all of the data in the entire system to staff a particular shift at a particular store or office. There is no limit to the amount of teams you can create, no limit to how many people can be added to a team, and no limit to the teams to which an employee can be added. What’s really cool about Shiftboard is that it goes above and beyond to ensure schedulers don’t double-book employees. For example, if I’m a part of multiple teams, then the scheduler won’t see me during times I’m working for other teams, even if the scheduler isn’t an administrator on the other team.
Shiftboard is the only scheduling tool we reviewed that features an applicant tracking subsection. The Opportunity tab is where the built-in, albeit very limited, tool lives. If your employees and recruits apply to a job at your company via the Shiftboard application widget, then they are automatically added to the scheduling tool. The fields included in the application are filled in by the employee and then automatically added to the system at the click of a button when they’re hired for a specific role.
The Who’s On tab is the time clock section of the tool. Administrators can see who has clocked in, who is unavailable, and who is scheduled. Administrators can create timecards in order to require users to clock in and out. The data from these timecards can be used to send advanced reporting to your integrated payroll tools and other HR tools in order to oversee payments and employee performance as it relates to attendance.
Additional Features and Usability
Within these five tabs, users are welcomed by a variety of global features that make using the system easier and more intelligent. You can create custom fields that comply with your specific business. For example, do employees have specific certifications or requirements that must be taken into consideration by shift planners? These can be added to the tool and automatically taken into account when bulk-planning your company’s schedule. You can also see a very specific makeup for each individual employee to ensure that you’re not scheduling someone who doesn’t have the skills you need for a specific shift.
The tool’s forecasting feature allow administrators to plan immediate and long-term labor costs. The tool estimates when you might need to pay extra for staffing based on the parameters you add to your bulk scheduling or monthly/annual calendar. For example, if you know that the busy holiday season will require 150 additional hours of labor, then the tool will run the math and tell you how much budget you’ll have to dedicate to the additional staffing. This is a robust forecasting feature, the likes of which you’ll only find on tools such as APS OnLine and Deputy.
On the employee side, your staffers can click a button and add free times or unavailable times. This allows the administrator to just click into the calendar to see who is available at a specific time. The broadcast messaging tool allows administrators to send mass email or SMS messages to anyone within specific parameters so that everyone knows an emergency shift is available. The tool features a news page for mass updates. This page is relatively static and it functions more like a blog than an open stream chat application.
The Bottom Line
There is very little to dislike about Shiftboard. The tool lets you slice, dice, and plan with an exhaustive amount of customization, templating, and sorting. Although it isn’t the prettiest dashboard in the world, and the calendar can be quite crowded, users who don’t want to trade functionality for cosmetics will be thoroughly impressed.
We recommend Shiftboard second only to Editors’ Choice tool Deputy. You can’t go wrong with either. Unfortunately, Shiftboard doesn’t have some of Deputy’s crucial functionality, including external user forums, and an intuitive and modern UI. However, if you’re intrigued by Shiftboard, then keep in mind that it does have a few things Deputy doesn’t, including an employee portal and access for more than 10,000 employees. If you need either of these options, then we strongly urge you to consider Shiftboard.