To simplify officer scheduling, many public safety administrators rely on officer scheduling software. This not only cuts the amount of time they spend on scheduling; it also can reduce overtime, ensure proper coverage, and improve communication. Here are seven features that are most important for law enforcement leaders to look for when selecting staff scheduling software.
1. Staffing Calculations
Officer scheduling software that manually performs staffing calculations gives administrators more time to focus on core responsibilities. In addition to increasing productivity, this helps ensure every shift is properly staffed to meet their department's specific criteria. For optimal compliance assurance, public safety facilities should adopt scheduling software that allows supervisors to instantly see how many people are scheduled by shift, position, skill, or division.
2. Patterns and Rotations
No matter which type of schedule patterns or rotations they use, recreating schedules each month can be a time-intensive task. Scheduling software that allows administrators to easily copy schedule patterns and rotations far into the future saves them from re-entering repeating schedule information. Software that lets them schedule multiple employees at once saves them additional time and simplifies complex scheduling.
3. Mobile App
Officers aren't sitting at their desks all day - most often, they aren't even in the building. So, it doesn't make sense for their schedules to be there either. Scheduling software that includes a mobile app allows officers, administrators, and staff to view up-to-the minute schedules on any mobile device. Some apps allow employees to submit cover, swap, time-off, and other schedule requests remotely, and lets managers view staffing needs and make last-minute changes if necessary.
Scheduling software that allows managers to instantly communicate with staff via email and text message helps managers fill open shifts fast. It provides them the ability to alert staff of schedule changes or notify them when there is a need for additional manpower in times of crisis. Software that lets managers send messages to a select group of qualified and available personnel helps get messages to the right people at the right times.
5. Compliance Management
Scheduling software that tracks skills and certifications ensures every shift is staffed with properly qualified individuals. Some software alerts administrators as far as 90 days before any expiration dates - reducing legal exposure. Administrators should look for software that allows schedulers to organize and view the information most important to them on one screen. This makes it easy for them stay on top of key scheduling and compliance issues.
Law enforcement departments must maintain high levels of service within tight budgetary restrictions. Administrators should consider the initial investment, as well as monthly and annual costs. Some software companies offer flexible pricing, which can be adjusted to meet specific personnel requirements. This ensures the department is paying only for the services they need.
7. Resource Management
For optimal resource management, public safety departments should invest in software that includes reporting tools, which allow them to monitor officer's shifts and hours - preventing unnecessary overtime costs. Some software even calculates employee utilization and efficiency and can provide an estimate of labor costs for a given work period.
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