Customizable APIs for Employee Scheduling Software

Don’t build employee scheduling software yourself; integrate with an API.

Tasia Potasinski | July 28, 2021

Poor employee scheduling directly affects business in terms of both day-to-day functioning and long-term growth. Research shows that

  • 20% of a manager’s time is spent manually creating the work schedule.
  • 174% more turnover occurs due to errors from manual schedule creation.
  • 62 percent of respondents say they’ve had hourly employees quit their jobs because of ongoing scheduling conflicts. 
  • Nearly three-fourths of managers aren’t satisfied with their ability to create schedules that keep employees happy and meet company needs. 

The need for simple-to-use and effective employee scheduling software is clear. For hourly employees, unpredictability and difficulty in finding out their work schedules leads to low morale, causes high turnover and creates a less productive work atmosphere. And the challenges of employee scheduling don’t stop there. Scheduling 1:1s with employees, 360 reviews, and onboarding and exit interviews are all integral to an ongoing healthy and productive work environment – but how do you turn your app into an employee scheduling powerhouse?

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Build-it-Yourself Challenges: Budget and Time to Market

Employee scheduling software is essential for your users – retaining employees, boosting productivity and profitability all depend on it. With this in mind, you might be considering building your employee scheduling software in-house. 

Considerations include team – the skill level and number of employees needed to build your own integrations; time – the number of hours it will take your team to build it from the ground up; and last but not least, the budget, the dollar amount it will take to bring the integration to fruition. 

Technical Challenges of Building Scheduling Software Yourself:

  • Calendar Connectivity – Figuring out secure authentication for real-time bi-directional sync for every calendar provider in the world; automatically identifying primary calendars for booking, and incorporating different defaults for each provider.
  • Recurring Events – Complex protocols differ from provider to provider; navigating one- off changes and timezone transitions.
  • Availability Logic – Getting to the bottom of pre-fetching and caching availability of participants to be resilient to downtime and latency spikes and using provider webhooks and event streams to keep caches up-to-date.
  • Time Zone Support – Deducting time zone information given a complex array of data from the provider and normalizing for time zones across hemispheres.
  • Event Reminders – Accounting for the many common vagaries of scheduling; everything from language consistency to making sure the guest is notified if the meeting has been cancelled even if they haven’t already declined.
  • Building Scheduling UI –  Sussing out all the edge cases your users may run into and making sure each workflow is intuitively designed.
  • Race Conditions – Implementing instant synchronization so that users don’t get double booked when two people try to book the same slot simultaneously. At the same time, making sure that the solution doesn’t impact sync speed.

Integrating with the Universal Nylas Calendar API

The Nylas Calendar API not only connects you to 100% of calendar providers, but it comes with pre-built security features that provide a more secure, reliable connection than you’d get integrating with the service providers directly – out of the box, we’re SOC 2 certified, GDPR compliant, Privacy Shield certified and HIPAA and FINRA ready. And unlike building the integration yourself, with Nylas, you can build your employee scheduling software in just 18 days with one engineer. Let’s take a look at a few of the robust features of the Nylas Calendar API. 

Facilitating Open Communication with the Nylas Scheduler

Checking in regularly with employees can prevent larger issues from coming to a head, and regular and timely feedback creates an environment of open communication integral to any successful team. However, employee managers have packed schedules that are quickly changing, and this can make it challenging to even schedule that 1-1. 

The Nylas Scheduler makes it simpler for you to provide all the functionality of employee scheduling software within your app without needing to focus on finding availability, identifying time zones, handling booking confirmation and cancellations, and more. To make integration easier, the Nylas Scheduler provides this functionality out of the box in a pre-built, customizable user interface.  

Organizers use the schedule editor inside of your application (left), and can share their scheduling pages (right) with attendees.
 

Features of the Nylas Scheduler like Autoschedule makes it easy for attendees to share their availability so that they can quickly book conflict-free events. It takes the stress out of scheduling important meetings like 360 reviews and onboarding and exit interviews. In short, it establishes the necessary channels of communication between manager and employee so vital to retaining employees and fostering productivity.

Prevent High Turnover and Revenue Loss with Text Reminders

Let’s imagine your users have done the impossible and created the perfect employee schedule. Smooth sailing? Not yet. It’s only human to forget! However, employees failing to show up for shifts can seriously impact the bottom line with lost revenue due to underserved customers who go to a competitor, and disgruntled employees who may quit after having been called to cover other employees’ shifts at the last minute one too many times. 

Nylas’ events endpoint makes automated text reminders for your employees about their shifts easy. The endpoint allows you to seamlessly create events and omni-channel reminders, e.g. SMS for upcoming meetings so that managers can easily remind employees of their shifts the night before. This single API request not only simplifies a tedious business process, it also helps prevent loss in revenue due to turnover and unhappy customers being underserved by gaps in scheduling. 

Maximize Velocity and Usability with Virtual Calendar

There are times when users want the ability to create and manage calendars that don’t have an email address/account tied to them. For example, managers may want to create employee schedules without requiring employees to connect to their personal Google, Exchange, Office 365 or Outlook calendars. The Nylas API’s Virtual Calendar allows you to take advantage of Nylas’ calendar and events endpoints without needing a provider-connected calendar to act as the data store.  Let’s take a look at how you might set this up:

curl --location --request POST 'https://api.nylas.com/calendars' \
--header 'Authorization: Bearer ACCESS_TOKEN' \
--data-raw '{
       "name":"Employee Schedule for Flagship Store",
       "description":"Employee Schedule for 5th Ave Location” ,
       "location":"Manhattan, NY",
       "timezone":"Manhattan, NY"
}'

Running this command will create a calendar object that looks something like this:

{
   "account_id": "dc41c2a1ce6840deba3cd41468fb75",
   "description": "Employee Schedule for 5th Ave Location”,
   "id": "ac1046f1dd1746d6a979b53c973c56",
   "is_primary": null,
   "location": "Manhattan, NY",
   "name": "Employee Schedule",
   "object": "calendar",
   "read_only": false,
   "timezone": "Manhattan, NY"
}

With this in hand, you can now create and manage events on this calendar, just like any other calendar from a third party provider, and employees can easily see their schedules without needing a provider-connected calendar. This saves managers time  and money because they no longer need to set each employee up with new accounts and deal with the overhead associated with maintaining them. Virtual calendars allow your users to schedule on a standalone calendar and maximizes security, velocity, and usability. 

Summary

Employee scheduling software is the infrastructure for increased productivity, improved communication, and growth for your users’ companies. Integrating with the Nylas API sets your app apart by providing your users with the tools to schedule effectively and easily, all within your platform. Learn how to keep your app competitive and transform your app into powerful scheduling software – sign up and try the API for free today, or schedule time to speak to a platform specialist now.

Tasia Potasinski

Tasia is the Director of Product Marketing at Nylas. She's passionate about communications and helping connect the world through APIs. In her free time, she writes and produces music.