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What is Rostering?

25/08/2022 minute read Nick Gallimore

Rostering: How Does it Work?

Businesses that rely on shift work – such as healthcare, hospitality, retail and public services – have a lot of different things to manage when it comes to rostering and staffing. As well as assigning the right staff to the right shifts, they also need to find cover, work around holidays, monitor absenteeism and morale, and keep an eye on costs and productivity. But balancing these conflicting elements isn’t always easy, and even the slightest mistake can cost a company big. 

That’s where employee rostering comes in.

When done right, rostering boosts a company’s efficiency across the board –reducing absenteeism, maximising efficiency, improving customer experience and saving on costs. In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about effective rostering. 

What’s covered:

  • What is rostering? 
  • What is rota management?
  • The drawbacks of traditional rostering
  • Why should you consider auto-rostering?
  • Industry-leading automatic rota management

What is rostering?

A roster – also known as a rota or schedule – is a list of employees and associated information, such as location, department, responsibilities and working times. The list works to highlight how your business will run over a given time period (e.g. a week, month or sports season), giving your employees all the information they need for their assigned shifts. 

What is rota management?

Similarly to rostering, the term rota management refers to the planning of shifts for your employees. This means considering staff availability and holidays, wellbeing, cover and on-call shifts, skills, and costs to create a rota that keeps your business running smoothly.

Note: The terms rostering and rota management can be used interchangeably. 

The drawbacks of traditional rostering

Traditionally, rostering was a manual process, with HR teams and department managers using spreadsheets to plan shifts. But with so many different details to consider, manual rostering is prone to mistakes – which can lead to a host of different (and often costly) issues.

Here are some of the biggest problems associated with traditional rostering. 

Higher fatigue & stress amongst staff

Staff wellbeing is one of the most important considerations when planning shifts – which means keeping an eye on how many hours they’ve worked, tracking absences and finding cover for their breaks and holidays. But with manual rostering, there’s no easy way to track all this data – and the more employees you have, the more difficult it becomes. This can lead to staff members taking on too much overtime, or finding themselves unable to take their full breaks – which, in the long run, can result in widespread fatigue and stress amongst your staff.


For a business to run efficiently, rosters need to be planned effectively – but they also need to be agile. Whether it’s because of staff sickness or external circumstances – such as a severe weather event – rosters will always be subject to changes. While an automatic rostering system will immediately flag problems with resources and staffing, a manual roster requires constant monitoring and amending, which can lead to problems with under or overstaffing. Not only does this harm your company’s immediate profits, but it can also negatively impact the experience of your clients. 

Why should you consider auto-rostering?

Auto-rostering (also known as e-rostering) refers to software that manages your company’s rostering for you. Designed to automate the shift planning process, auto-rostering platforms make it easy to configure rotas that match your company’s shifting needs. 

Here are some of the benefits unlocked by rostering software

Save time & money

By automating those time-consuming rostering tasks and reducing time spent on admin, auto-rostering makes it quicker and easier to manage your rota –which frees up resources for other areas of your business. It also helps you save money by reducing the risk of under and overstaffing, giving you real-time visibility of any changes to make sure you’ve got the resources you need. 

And e-rostering doesn’t just save you money – it can also boost your profits. With appropriately staffed shifts, you can make sure your clients have a positive experience – which makes them more likely to refer you to others. 

Reduce absenteeism 

E-rostering is great for your business – but it’s also good for your employees. By giving you complete visibility over your staff’s working patterns and automatically flagging up any issues, you can make sure everyone’s working the right amount of hours – with the right amount of breaks. And with fewer issues relating to fatigue, burnout and stress, there'll be fewer absences you need to find cover for. 

Discover industry-leading automatic rota management.

Managing rotas is a complex task – but it doesn’t have to be. With OneAdvanced’s auto-rostering platform, you can quickly and easily configure rotas – with intelligent forecasting to help you meet projected demands. Manage shift costs, track absences and target problem areas – all while staying compliant with working time regulations. This is rostering you can set your watch by. 

You can find out more about our industry-leading time & attendance software with auto-rostering here.