Unless you work with kittens, we’re guessing you didn’t get into business to spend your life herding cats. And yet, rostering and organizing staff schedules can feel that way.
Figuring out staff availability and scheduling shifts with pen and paper or using disjointed and clunky spreadsheets only makes this more frustrating. That’s why it’s so important to find an employee roster app that simplifies the entire process, saves time, enables team communication, connects with other tools, and lets you stick to your budget too.
But finding the perfect app can feel like a full-time job — not what you need when you’re running a business.
That’s why in this post, we’ve done the research for you. We cover:
- The key features to look for in employee roster apps.
- What each software is best for.
- And our top pick of 10 of the best employee roster apps available in 2023, so you can get an overview of the options and make the right choice for your business.
Key Features to Look for in Employee Roster Apps
When choosing a good employee roster platform for your business, we recommend looking out for the following features:
- Syncs with other useful products — It’s important for a rostering platform to integrate effortlessly with other employee management systems. This includes tools for tracking time, facilitating team communication, and managing payroll. The ability to synchronize within the app itself or through external integrations streamlines processes, making management more efficient.
- Connects with a wide range of integrations — The value of a roster app increases when it can connect with a broad range of other platforms. This versatility helps avoid technical issues in the future and ensures the app remains useful as your business grows and your technology needs evolve.
- Is free or reasonably priced — Assessing the cost-effectiveness of the platform is key. It’s important to understand the pricing structure and ensure that essential features are available within your budget. Some platforms, like Homebase, offer key scheduling tools as part of their free plan, which can be a significant advantage.
- Can be used on a variety of devices — Given that employees often work in various settings, the chosen platform should be accessible across multiple devices, including smartphones, tablets, desktops, and point-of-sale systems. This accessibility ensures that employees can view their schedules and receive updates regardless of their location.
- Lets you set up alerts and reminders — The effectiveness of a schedule hinges on its visibility to employees. Therefore, a good roster app should allow for the setting up of alerts and reminders. These notifications can be for upcoming shifts, newly published schedules, or last-minute changes, helping to ensure smooth operations.
- Includes self-scheduling features — Empowering employees to have some control over their schedules can lead to better job satisfaction and reduced no-shows. Look for a roster app that allows employees to request shift changes, swap shifts, or claim open shifts. This feature not only empowers employees but also can simplify the management process.
Our Top Pick for Employee Roster Apps (+ the Rest Ranked)
Of course, we think that Homebase offers the best solution for small businesses. It goes much further than rostering employees. It’s an all-in-one platform that connects your employee roster to a range of other must-have features — like scheduling, communication, and payroll.
But if you’re trying to find the best employee roster for your business, it’s worth seeing what’s out there so you know you haven’t missed anything.
That’s why we’ve compared some of the top employee roster apps out there to save you time and offer peace of mind. Let’s take a look:
- Homebase: Best all-in-one solution
- Connecteam: Best for ease of use
- mHelpDesk: Best for workers ‘in the field’
- 7shifts: Best for team communication
- Sling: Best for simplicity
- Fourth (HotSchedules): Best for cost monitoring
- Paycor: Best for boosting productivity
- Deputy: Best for efficiency
- Shiftboard: Best for flexibility
- QuickBooks Time: Best for Quickbooks integration
Comparison Chart: Top 10 Employee Roster Apps
|Software||Part of a wider suite of tools||Integrates with other useful tools||Alerts + team comms||Staff self tools||Mobile app||Free plan?||Pricing|
|✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||Plans range from free to $100 per location per month (plus 20% savings on the annual plan).
Homebase payroll costs $39/month base fee and $6/month per active employee.
|✓||X||✓||✓||✓||✓||Free for up to 10 users. From $29 to $99 per month for 30 users.|
|✓||✓||✓||X||✓||X||mHelpDesk doesn’t publish pricing online.|
|✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||Free for 30 employees. From $29.99 to $135.|
|✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||Free for scheduling and PTO. From $1.70-$3.40 per user per month.|
|✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||X||Fourth doesn’t publish pricing online.|
|✓||✓||✓||X||✓||X||Paycor doesn’t publish pricing online.|
|✓||✓||✓||X||✓||✓||Free for 100 shifts per month. From $3.50-$4.90 per user per month.|
|✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||X||Shiftboard doesn’t publish pricing online.|
|✓||✓||✓||X||✓||X||From $8 per user per month + $20 base fee per month to $10 per user per month + $40 base fee per month.|
1. Homebase: Best All-in-One Solution
Homebase lets you set up staff rostering in minutes. And because it’s an all-in-one solution, it also connects seamlessly with must-have tools like a time clock, PTO requests, team communication, and payroll. You can optimize your roster setting as just one key part of your wider, well-oiled operation.
- Schedule templates and auto-scheduling for super-fast rostering.
- Send alerts to your team via app, email, and text.
- See availability and PTO tracking to avoid clashes or rostering unavailable people.
- Set up alerts to avoid costly overtime and ensure labor law compliance.
- Give employees autonomy via team communication and easy shift trading.
- Create schedules that coordinate with other important tools like timesheets, payroll, team communication, hiring, onboarding, and availability.
Pros and Cons
Homebase’s many tools make rostering easy and ensure your scheduling is accurate, reducing overtime costs and the risk of no-shows. Users love its “ease of use” and “simple scheduling.” However, you may not need all of the tools it offers if you’re looking for a platform that does basic HR tasks only.
- Basic: Free. Track hours and manage schedules. Includes messaging. One location, unlimited staff.
- Essentials: $24.95 per month, per location. Everything in Basic, plus performance tracking and team communication.
- Plus: $59.95 per month, per location. Everything in Essential, plus PTO tracking and budget tools.
- All In One: $99.95 per month, per location. Everything in Plus, as well as HR and onboarding tools.
2. Connecteam: Best for Ease of Use
Aimed at a ‘“non-desk workforce,” Connecteam is designed to work seamlessly on mobile devices and save everyone time. It lets managers create and share schedules easily and has a color-coded and clear interface that’s attractive and simple to use.
- See staff profiles and availability at a glance.
- Schedule templates help for quick rostering.
- Track time easily and accurately with geolocation for punch-ins and outs.
- Automated shift reminders and no-show alerts.
- Avoid conflicts and shift overlaps.
- Empower staff by letting them trade shifts easily.
- Communicate securely and easily with your team within the app.
- Avoid overtime, and keep track of breaks.
- Export timesheets to external payroll providers.
Pros and Cons
Connecteam users particularly like the “useful automation” and “ease of navigation.” However, it only works on mobile devices, which isn’t ideal if you’re looking for a tool you can use on a desktop as well as a smartphone.
Operations hub (includes scheduling and time clock features).
- Small Business: Free for up to 10 users.
- Basic: $29 per month for up to 30 users. Extra users $0.50 per month.
- Advanced: $49 per month for 30 users. Extra users $1.50 per month. Everything in Basic, plus extra features, including time clock tasks.
- Expert: $99 per month for 30 users. Extra users $3 per month. Everything in Advanced, plus GPS features and automation.
Connecteam also offers other packages called Communications and HR & Skills. However, these do not include rostering or scheduling tools.
3. mHelpDesk: Best for Workers ‘In the Field’
Founded in 2007 by a team of engineers, mHelpDesk aims to work as a “partner” rather than a “product” to its clients. It’s designed for staff who work “in the field” and aims to automate slow, repetitive, manual tasks and keep track of all tasks on a single dashboard.
- Get visibility over team members’ availability.
- Assign scheduling and job assignments quickly to technicians in the field.
- Use the drag-and-drop calendar for fast scheduling.
- Send text and email notifications for any last-minute changes.
- Connect with job management to track the status of every task.
- Automate staff reminders.
- Customize staff email templates within the staff messaging system.
Pros and Cons
mHelp Desk has a wide range of powerful features and links staff availability to job status for a simple overview of all your jobs. Users praise “the ease of use and tailored categories” as well as the “exceptional customer service.”
However, it’s a large piece of software with features for lead management, online booking, and inventory tracking. It’s designed for companies that send technicians to different locations, so it may be too cumbersome for your needs.
- mHelpDesk doesn’t publish pricing online. Instead, it invites users to request a complimentary live walkthrough via its website.
4. 7shifts: Best for Team Communication
7shifts is a scheduling and staff management platform that includes tools for everything from hiring to pay to how to retain good team members. Its scheduling tools let you stay on budget, automate rostering, and remain compliant with employment laws.
- Create schedules easily, so you can add shifts and assign employees fast.
- Publish a digital schedule with a single button.
- Drag and drop shifts using the scheduler and customizable templates for quicker schedules every week.
- Link it with tools for staff engagement, tip pooling, and time clocking.
- Use the mobile app to let team members see their schedule and track changes.
- Sync your schedule with your labor budget and sales forecasts.
- Automate alerts for breaks, split shifts, and overtime.
Pros and Cons
7shifts users like how it helps with “team communication” and offers ”easy phone access” to staff. However, it’s been designed primarily for the demands of the restaurant sector, so there may be a better option if your business is in another industry.
- Comp: Free for one location and up to 30 employees. Includes time clock and scheduling.
- Entrée: From $29.99 per month per location for up to 30 employees, Everything from the Comp plan plus templates, budgeting, and time off tracking.
- The Works: From $69.99 per month per location for unlimited employees. Everything from the Entrée plan, plus payroll integration and state-based compliance tools.
- Chef’s Choice: From $89.99 per month per location. Everything in The Works, plus onboarding, labor forecasting, and closer support
- Gourmet: Advanced customization and support for Enterprises or corporate/franchise-owner mid-market brands. Pricing on request from the sales team.
7shifts also offers a free 14-day trial.
5. Sling: Best for Simplicity
Sling is simple, dedicated employee scheduling software. It aims to help you balance labor expenses with staff rostering. This helps you save on excess costs and stick to local laws while keeping staff happy, engaged, and informed.
- Optimize your labor costs into your scheduling for labor cost controls.
- Track hours accurately and export timesheets easily for payroll with the time clock.
- Set up team communication within the app to ensure everyone always has the latest details.
- Maximize productivity with the task management tool.
- Manage multiple work locations for remote or multiple-location teams.
- Integrate with many other tools within the same platform for enhanced capability.
Pros and Cons
Sling clients repeatedly appreciate the “simplicity” of learning and using the platform, as well as its “intuitiveness.” However, you may not need all of the tools it offers if managing labor costs is not one of your main priorities right now.
- Basic: Free. Includes shift scheduling and time-off requests, but no mobile time tracking.
- Premium: $1.70 per user per month. Everything in Basic, plus tools for mobile time tracking and optimizing labor costs.
- Business: $3.40 per user per month. Everything in Premium, plus data and reports.
6. Fourth (HotSchedules): Best for Cost Monitoring
Fourth (and its scheduling tool HotSchedules) is designed to make life easier for managers and employees, with hacks to save time and simplify processes. It also offers a range of features to link scheduling with demand, costs, and projections to help you keep a close eye on your budget.
- Use drag-and-drop scheduling for fast rostering.
- Match schedules with demand forecasting for on-the-ground needs.
- Use team member individual and group messaging.
- Empower staff to swap, drop, and pick up shifts easily.
- Integrate with Google Calendar.
- Send end-of-shift surveys to ensure employee engagement and feedback.
- Set up your KPI dashboard with forecasts and benchmarks.
- Keep track of labor law compliance and monitor costs.
Pros and Cons
Fourth users especially like the “stable software” and how “fast and comfortable it is” to use. However, Fourth doesn’t publish pricing publicly, and you may not need all of its budgeting tools if you’re a smaller business with a limited, simpler budget.
- Fourth doesn’t publish pricing on its website and instead invites interested users to request a demo.
7. Paycor: Best for Boosting Productivity
Paycor’s scheduling software makes rostering staff simple with templates, color-coded schedules, and mobile-friendly tools. It’s designed to eliminate missed shifts and give managers complete visibility over their teams’ availability. Its main aim is to reduce manual errors and boost productivity as a result.
- Match staff shifts with your spending targets with labor spend projection.
- Optimize labor spend, track hours, and automate timekeeping with time and attendance tools
- Set up scheduling with team communication to ensure alerts and boost productivity
Pros and Cons
Paycor’s scheduling software is just one of the features it offers among a wide range of HR, payroll, benefits, and compliance tools. Users repeatedly praise “how easy it is” to use and set goals. However, its huge array of tools and positioning towards larger companies may not be quite right if you have a smaller operation (fewer than 50 staff).
Paycor has several levels of paid plans depending on your needs and the size of your business. It doesn’t publish pricing publicly for any of its levels, but shows you what’s included and then invites you to share your details for a quote.
Below 50 employees
- Basic: Payroll, reporting, tax compliance, and hiring.
- Essential: Everything in Basic, plus analytics and onboarding.
- Core: Everything in Essential, plus HR support.
- Complete: Everything in Core, plus and talent development.
- It doesn’t publish pricing publicly but invites you to share your details for a quote.
8. Deputy: Best for Efficiency
Deputy aims to save managers hours in scheduling and reduce no-shows or shift clashes without hassle. It also makes it easy to share changes with staff and simplifies everyday tasks like payroll and team communication.
- Create and view schedules on a phone, tablet, or computer, with auto-scheduling to save time.
- Sort out replacements if someone is sick easily, without a phone call.
- Fill empty shifts and get an overview of staff availability.
- Share instantly with the team via desktop and mobile.
- Record hours and breaks via the same app.
- Link costs with staff shifts.
- Create automatic, accurate timesheets that managers can export easily.
- Enable labor law compliance and keep accurate records.
- Use touchless options (voice commands and facial recognition) for cleaner workplaces and faster time tracking.
- Use GPS for location stamps or touch-free face verification.
- Alert staff and managers when breaks are due.
Pros and Cons
Deputy users have called it an “ideal rostering program” and praise its “straightforwardness.” However, for time-saving tools like auto-scheduling, timesheets, reporting, and employee rotas, you need to be on the more expensive plan.
- Premium: From $4.90 per user per month, Includes all Scheduling, Time & Attendance, and reporting tools.
- Time & Attendance: From $3.50 per user per month. Scheduling with attendance tracking and timesheet management. Doesn’t include automation, reporting, or SMS alerts. Has fewer team communication tools.
- Scheduling: From $3.50 per user per month. Includes shift rostering and team communication.
- Enterprise: Price on request. For businesses with 250+ employees. Everything in Premium, plus custom features.
Deputy also offers a free 31-day trial.
9. Shiftboard: Best for Flexibility
Shiftboard describes itself as suited to “mission-critical industries,” like manufacturing, energy, and healthcare. It works particularly well for multiple-location businesses and helps managers optimize workforce capacity, boost efficiency, and retain good employees. It also has a number of tools to make changing shifts easy and stress-free.
- Automate schedules, including for shift patterns and automatic overtime law compliance.
- Engage workers with flexible and fair schedules, employee trades, and mobile access.
- Fill last-minute shifts, and notify workers about changes quickly.
- Optimize coverage, including shift shuffling, split shifts, and overtime reduction tools.
- Plan labor demand and convert targets into jobs, and ensure mixed skills per shift.
- Manage leave and timesheets, including PTO requests, online timesheets, and payroll code management.
Pros and Cons
Shiftboard clients say they like that the tool “allows staff to log in and be involved” in their own schedule, as well as how “instantly” updates are sent. However, it’s designed for multiple-location, larger businesses, so it may not be the right choice for you, depending on your size and needs.
- Shiftboard doesn’t publicly show pricing, but it has two levels of plans: Enterprise and Enterprise Plus. Enterprise Plus has more tools, including more advanced scheduling and PTO rules.
10. QuickBooks Time: Best for QuickBooks Integration
QuickBooks Time, from the payroll and accountancy software platform of the same name, was previously known as TSheets. It aims to ensure accurate time tracking and invoicing while saving time on manual data entry. If your business already uses QuickBooks, this could be the perfect add-on.
- Sync employees’ time data to your existing account with seamless QuickBooks integration.
- See where and what your employees are working on, in real-time, with the Who’s Working window.
- Get greater accountability with GPS location tracking.
- Use it on a range of devices, including a smartphone, computer, or time clock kiosk.
- Get valuable business insight with connected time reporting.
Pros and Cons
QuickBooks Time users like how well the app works “wherever you are” and how easy it is to see “who’s working.” However, if you don’t use QuickBooks (and are unlikely to), it may not be the best option.
- Premium: $20 per month + $8 per user per month. Includes mobile app, payroll and invoicing, shift scheduling, time off management, photo attachment, alerts, and unlimited customer support.
- Elite: $40 per month + $10 per user per month. Includes everything in Elite, plus progress planning, geofencing, timesheet signatures, and project estimating.
QuickBooks Time also has a ProAdvisor account option for accounting professionals. It also offers a free trial for 30 days.
Employee Roster Apps: One Core Part of Your Business
Making sure you have staff working in your business when you need them isn’t just a “nice to have.” It’s absolutely crucial to the good functioning of your operation. After all, without your staff, you don’t have a business.
That’s why finding a roster app that works for you and your staff is so important. But rostering staff doesn’t happen in a vacuum.
You need a platform that makes rostering team members just one part of a wider whole. So you can be sure that staff know where they need to be and when, and you can track those hours accurately and link them to the rest of your business (for example, for payroll and budgeting).
Homebase offers staff scheduling and rostering along with other must-have features. This means you can use it as just one part of a much larger toolbox, help your business thrive, and roster your staff successfully and simply – no cat herding required.
**The information above is based on our research on employee roster apps. All user feedback referenced in the text has been sourced from independent software review platforms, such as G2 and Capterra, in March 2023.
Employee Roster Apps FAQs
What Are Key Features to Look for in Employee Roster Apps?
When selecting an employee roster app, prioritize features like integration with other employee management systems, a range of external integrations, reasonable pricing, multi-device accessibility, alerts and reminders, and self-scheduling for employees. These features streamline management, offer versatility, enhance accessibility, and empower employees.
Why Is It Important to Have a Versatile Employee Roster App?
A versatile employee roster app adapts to various technological needs and grows with your business. This adaptability helps in avoiding technical issues and ensures long-term usefulness, especially as your business evolves.
What Makes an Employee Roster App Cost-Effective?
An app is cost-effective if it provides essential features within your budget. Some platforms offer crucial scheduling tools in their free plans, making them particularly advantageous for businesses looking to maximize value while minimizing expenses.
How Does Device Accessibility Impact Employee Roster Apps?
Device accessibility ensures that employees can access their schedules and receive updates regardless of location, whether they’re using smartphones, tablets, desktops, or point-of-sale systems. This widespread accessibility is key for teams working in diverse settings.
What Are the Benefits of Alerts and Reminders in Roster Apps?
Alerts and reminders in roster apps enhance the visibility of schedules to employees. They can be used for upcoming shifts, newly published schedules, or last-minute changes, contributing to smoother operations and better preparedness.
Why Is Self-Scheduling an Important Feature in Roster Apps?
Self-scheduling empowers employees to manage their schedules, leading to higher job satisfaction and fewer no-shows. It allows employees to request shift changes, swap shifts, or claim open shifts, which not only empowers them but also simplifies the management process.
What Are the Advantages of Homebase as an Employee Roster App?
Homebase is considered an all-in-one solution, connecting employee rostering to various features like scheduling, communication, and payroll. It’s designed for easy use, efficient scheduling, and integrates seamlessly with other essential business tools.
How Does an Employee Roster App Integrate with Other Business Functions?
A comprehensive employee roster app integrates with various business functions like time tracking, payroll, team communication, and budget management. This integration allows for a more holistic approach to managing employees, ensuring that all aspects of staff management are synchronized and efficient.
How Do Employee Roster Apps Contribute to the Overall Functioning of a Business?
Employee roster apps are essential for ensuring staff availability aligns with business needs. They facilitate efficient scheduling, accurate hour tracking, and seamless integration with other business processes like payroll and budgeting, which are critical for the smooth operation of any business.