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Work planning: 7 criteria for choosing your staff planning management software

Work planning can quickly become a headache: the skills required for a post, respecting individual working hours, schedule exchanges, calculating bonuses or associated overtime, covering extended opening hours, etc. Specialised planning management software is flourishing on the market to remedy the shortcomings of spreadsheet-based management systems. How to choose the right personnel planning tool? What criteria should we be looking at?

Nowadays, dividing up the work between the employees present is no longer enough to ensure good work planning. The race for productivity, management of key skills and compliance with regulations are all factors that need to be considered when managing personnel planning. Added to these are new challenges such as the contextual use of remote working, work/life balance and flexible working hours, all of which help to build employee loyalty and commitment.
In this context, the use of a centralised, digitised work planning system is essential, so that all involved parties can share it instantly. What's more, these software tools offer real added value in helping managers to create planning schedules: suggestions for optimised planning according to the imposed constraints, alerts if hours are exceeded or absences are recorded, etc.

It is important, however, that the right planning software is chosen to meet the specific needs of each organisation.

Claire Cohan, Kelio Marketing Manager, outlines 7 key criteria to bear in mind when choosing your planning software.

1. Agile software ergonomics, to mimic work organisation

A good planning tool should offer screens that are sufficiently adaptable and customisable, so that each manager can use them to shape their own work organisation. Planning software that is too restrictive and too far removed from current practices runs the risk of not being understood or adopted by users.


Remember to ask for your organisation to be modelled in the tool. If you can't find your way around, change course - the tool you're considering isn't the right one for you. You'll never be able to fit a square into a circle and, if you go through with it, you risk having the tool rejected by your users and having made an unnecessary investment.

Claire Cohan
Marketing Manager

2. Work cycles that can be repeated over time

One of the most time-consuming tasks for managers is re-entering organisational cycles: shift rotations, minimal personnel requirements, etc. Planning software that automatically sets up these recurrent patterns and repeats them over time saves precious time while reducing the risk of errors.

3. The ability to import business data

Most organisations rely on business indicators to manage their activity: estimated turnover, quantities to be produced, number of people to be served, etc. Some planning software can import these production variables directly and automatically calculate the associated human resource requirements. This ensures an efficient work planning, as close as possible to actual activity.

4. Easy management of occasional events

Some tools offer “time-saving” solutions to make it easier to manage occasional events, such as absences or activity fluctuations: visual alerts, suggestions for one or more alternative planning options to accommodate new constraints.
These events can lead to both understaffing and overstaffing. Some planning software allows you to lend or borrow an employee internally. Others facilitate the use of temporary workers by opening up the vacancy directly with employment agencies, while incorporating a "provisional employee" into the planning schedule.

Gestion des événements

5. Interfacing between the planning tool and the HRIS software

Software that can interface with HRIS and/or time management systems makes it easier to identify resources that are both competent and available when it comes to planning. This interfacing also makes it possible to ensure that bonus hours and bonuses are triggered when the planning is produced. Even better than interfacing, an HR solution that natively integrates time management and planning functionalities will provide additional reliability, including the assurance that data will be updated in real time.

6. Alerts to ensure that planning schedules comply with legal and collective agreement requirements


Planning requires a good knowledge of legal and collective agreement rules in order to avoid making mistakes and risking penalties that can be very heavy for the company. However, it is rare for the managers in charge of planning to be aware of all the constraints that need to be respected, as legislation and trade agreements are constantly evolving.

Claire Cohan
Marketing Manager

The tools used to construct planning schedules can make the organisation more secure: some can alert or block the actions of managers when forecast planning schedules do not comply with the regulatory conditions in force in the organisation. The most advanced software can also be used to set specific alerts, to monitor fair treatment between employees.

7. Planning distribution tools

A good planning schedule is first and foremost one that is known and shared by everyone! A tool that facilitates the distribution of planning in different formats - paper, SMS, e-mail, intranet link - is therefore preferable. Effective communication of planning helps employees to get organised, which in turn promotes work/life balance. Good communication of planning also means that employees are better informed about the tasks to be carried out, a factor that is still underestimated in terms of well-being at work.

Choosing the right planning solution, i.e. one that meets the specific needs of the company, remains an essential step towards successfully digitising employee planning. Involving a user committee - made up of representatives from HR, managers and users - in the selection process also ensures that the tool is adopted by as many people as possible.

Because while choosing the right tool is a prerequisite, it cannot do without the change support that the introduction of a new tool represents. A final selection criterion to take into account is the integrator's experience and ability to support an entire company in implementing the new planning tool.

Need advice on choosing and implementing a planning tool?


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