Storytelling About Shiftboard With Sterling Wilson

Ever wondered how shift-scheduling software is revolutionizing mission-critical industries? Get ready to explore the intriguing world of SaaS-based solutions with Sterling Wilson, the President and CEO of Shiftboard. Sterling shines a light on how their innovative technology is not just facilitating seamless integration with payroll, HSUH ECM, time clocks, LMSs, and credential storage systems. But, Shiftboard is also redefining the working experience for hourly-paid employees in subverticals such as refineries, pipelines, petrochemical, power generation, and many more.

Shiftboard’s cutting-edge features like their advanced rules engine and Candidate Finder are breaking new ground by simplifying the process of finding the right individuals for the right shifts – a game changer in the industry! Sterling uncovers how their software ensures compliance with regulations and covers production needs. As well, he provides valuable insights into their change management efforts, explaining how they assist organizations in rolling out their software to all their workers. So, tune in for a deep dive with Sterling Wilson as he details the future of shift scheduling.

Give the show a listen and please let me know what you think.

Thanks, William

Show length: 21 minutes

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Sterling Wilson
President & CEO Shiftboard

Shiftboard is a leading provider of employee scheduling software for shift-based operations in mission-critical industries. Backed by Shiftboard’s tailor-fit solutions, organizations can build adaptive workforce operations that increase operational agility, optimize labor resources, and accommodate workers’ preferences, leading to improved efficiency and higher worker satisfaction and retention rates. To date, Shiftboard has supported over 630 million scheduled shifts for thousands of customers, including many Fortune 500 companies, providing the employment pipeline for $66 billion in wages earned. For more information, please visit


Storytelling About Shiftboard With Sterling Wilson

William Tincup: [00:00:00] This is William Tincup and you are listening to the Use Case podcast. Today we have Sterling on from Shift board and we’ll be learning about the business case or what the use case for why practitioners pick shift board. So why don’t we just jump right into it. Sterling, would you do us favor and introduce both yourself and Shift Board?

Sterling WIlson: Sure, thanks William. It’s great to be on. I appreciate the invitation, sure. I’m Sterling Wilson. I’m the president and c e o of the Shipboard Business. And what we do at Shipboard, we sell a we are a SaaS based software solution, and we sell to [00:01:00] companies that help them manage the schedules of their shift based workers.

So we are an employee scheduling product and we target industries that are, we think of as mission critical industries and specifically the two vertical markets. We target, William, or. Energy and manufacturing. Those are the two where our product fits very well. It’s great product market fit, and that’s an overview.

So we’re employee scheduling software.

William Tincup: Love it. So now, are we in any particular industries or vertical markets? Are we domestic? Are we international? Let’s just kinda define the market for folks. Sure.

Sterling WIlson: Yeah, sure. Let me give you some overview of that. And I’ll talk a little bit William why people buy our software too, maybe perfect perspective that would be interesting to you.

So I talk about energy and energy and so the energy sub-verticals, we go after William, we’re gonna be refineries, pipelines. Petrochemical, power generation and utilities or the [00:02:00] Oh, cool. Verticals within energy and then in manufacturing, really strong in food and beverage, medical and pharmaceutical, consumer packaged goods, chemicals and automotive and industrial.

Those are the strongest sub-verticals there. And are we

William Tincup: talking mostly in both? I love both those industries, by the way. Are we talking mostly hourly workers or are we a mixture of hourly

Sterling WIlson: and professional? Almost every employee that we schedule our softwares use Care is an hourly paid employee.

Got it. We are not, we’re traditionally, it’s not gonna be an office worker, it’s gonna be a Plant four, right. Plant for worker or, know pipeline control room worker. That’s where we focus the kitchen.

William Tincup: Doug, question, but this is gonna be because most of these folks are gonna be on remote devices, mobile devices, tablets, et cetera.

So this is. This is probably mobile first technology, right?

Sterling WIlson: A hundred percent. That’s a hundred percent. Yeah. So if you think about scheduling in our world William, we really have actually just three users of our [00:03:00] software inside of business. And it’s almost a reverse period about how many people are actually done at the bottom is the worker, right?

That’s the biggest population of people using our products. We have a very easy to use mobile application that they can look on to see their schedule. They can swap shifts, they can bid on overtime. I can call off if they’re gonna be sick or ask for time off. So very simple to use product if you move up that pyramid.

The next group is supervisors. So we find often in plans that there’s a supervisor role that’s responsible for like day of changes. If somebody calls off sick, I gotta find somebody to replace them. So there’s a supervisor role and our product fits there too. And then at the top of the pyramid, the smallest number of users is actually a scheduler.

There’ll be a master scheduler. Or multiple schedulers at plants that use our products. So we have to make software that’s easy to use for all three of those constituents. So that’s kinda and your point about mobile first, that’s certainly [00:04:00] true, right? That work has to have an easy to use product that they want to use and can engage with and really adds value to their, work work life, for example.

William Tincup: Does scheduling need to touch? It’s been years since I’ve studied it and it was in a restaurant world, so a little bit outside of the verticals you care about, but is it, does it need to touch anything else? Does it, can it be standalone and scheduling just by itself, or does it need to touch other types of technology within their stack?

Sterling WIlson: Yeah. William, you’re not that far out of touch, so that’s a great question. Yes, in most cases we, we will find ourselves integrating to a, another product. So think about an ideal customer for us is some has somewhere between 150 and say 2000 workers at a single facility. That’s an ideal single facility customer for us.

And so in that situation, we’re gonna want to integrate into wherever the employee data is, right? We wanna know where, what positions William’s qualified to work for. We wanna know [00:05:00] what seniority William has. I’m using you as an example. Obviously we wanna know that information, so we’re gonna connect into some either payroll or h HCM system for sure.

We’re often connect into a time clock cuz we need to know, we need to tell the time clock. Hey. William’s supposed to clock in at 10 o’clock today. So he’s got we tell the time clock William can clock in at 10, right? So you don’t clock in at nine 30 isn’t capital. So we’re integrate the time clocks and we’ve also been asked to, and have seen integrations to LMSs learning management systems or credential storage systems that would store that information.

So we do integrate to systems. The product can be used standalone. That’s typically when we have our smaller number of users, like a the pipeline control room where maybe it’s 50 workers. We don’t need that as much, but when you’re having 150 or two, 2000 employees, you want an automated linkage to those other systems.

This makes it much, much easier for the scheduler and the supervisor and the worker to manage the job. [00:06:00] So what are we

William Tincup: dispositioning or replacing? Post-it notes, Excel proprietary software, other types of scheduling software. What’s, what are you seeing, especially in industries where you’re dominant,

Sterling WIlson: what do you, what are we ripping out?

Yeah, so William I think I’m gonna start with, if you don’t mind, I’m gonna start with why people buy our software. Yeah. And that would help answer your question there. And so we think of, there’s four main reasons people buy our software today. So the first is they wanna become employer of choice. So again, we’re selling to industrials, manufacturing energy.

And in those markets, as we all know, over the last several years you don’t have enough employees and your turnover is significant. In these marketplaces, you’ll see in a manufacturer you’ll see turnover 30, 40, 50%.

William Tincup: Yeah. And it’s an aging population, especially in energy in the hourly. So if it’s an aging population, you’re like oil rig workers.

They’re aging out. A hundred percent. Yeah.

Sterling WIlson: Yeah. It’s really interesting you say [00:07:00] that. William, I’m taking a little tangent here, is we just did a survey, an hourly worker survey. We did one in 19 and we just updated in 2022, and one of the things that really became evident in that survey was there are five generations of workers in the workforce now to to your point, right?

You got. Gen Z, millennials, gen X, baby boomers, and then traditionalists, right? And that population, that’s a very wide spectrum of ages there. And they care about different things, right? Different things. The traditionalists are aging out more and more. Gen Zs and millennials are coming in those workforce and they care about different things.

That is really important. When a scheduler or a company’s thinking about having an automated scheduling tool, how do you sub, how do you satisfy the needs of all five of those generations in your workforce? So an automated scheduling pro like, like ours, really fits really well. So I’m gonna come back to the first point.

The reasons companies buy. The first reason is they wanna become employer of [00:08:00] choice. So they have what they really wanna do is make sure they think of things like what times do you really wanna work William? What’s the best thing for you to have work-life balance? Let me put more flexibility into my scheduling capabilities.

Traditional scheduling has been very complex or very rigid, right? You work these times, we don’t care if your dog’s sick or not. You are gonna come in and work right? So these, what we’ve seen over the last two or three years is HR has gotten much more involved in the scheduling decision proc process because they want to be employer of choice.

So that’s number one. So using an automated tool to make it easier to do scheduling and make it better for the worker experience. That’s number one reason. The second reason people buy our software is in today’s workforce you have a very diverse type of worker and here specific question William we see.

70 to 80% of the companies we see today use Excel. So this. [00:09:00]

William Tincup: My my longstanding bid around Microsoft Office being the largest HR tech company in the world.

Sterling WIlson: Yeah, a hundred percent. When we walk into a company of prospect today, they’re using Excel, right? That’s what we see. Or it’s a paper. We rarely see them replacing a technology, and if it is, they probably built it themselves and it just doesn’t work very well.

On that task, we, the second reason companies buy from us is, They’re very, this, very diverse workforce. So they’re gonna have full-time employees, they’ll have part-time employees. They have made a float pool made up of retired workers. They may be going to a technical college to get employer employees to come in to work for them.

So you can’t do that excel. That’s really impossible to do, right? So you need a technology like ours to help them. The third reason companies will buy our software is really compliance. So in a number of our customers they’re union shops, so they’ll have a [00:10:00] collective Can I ask you about that? Yeah.

They’re union. So they have a C B A or collective bargain agreement, and they have to be able to schedule according to the terms of that CBA A or else they have to pay a penalty. They get if, they, if they fail to do that, a grievance gets filed by an employee and they have to pay a penalty.

So it’s compliance, and it could be union compliance, it could be local labor, law compliance. In energy, there’s a there’s an industry standard called RP 7 55, which is a fatigue management standard by which you want to schedule like William. We don’t wanna schedule you 12 days in a row, 12 hours a day, right?

That’s not good, right? That gets into

William Tincup: a safety

Sterling WIlson: issue. A hundred percent. A hundred percent. That’s what does fatigue management standards do? So that is another, so the third reason people buy is really like compliance compliant with the C B A or fatigue or local label law’s, compliance. It’s the third reason they buy, and the fourth reason they buy is just efficiency in roi, right?

Nobody wants an inefficient schedule. [00:11:00] You wanna make sure that you’re, limiting the overtime you’re using, you wanna maximize your workforce that you have. So those are the four reasons we see people buy our software. I love it.

William Tincup: Let’s do a couple buy side things real quick. Your favorite part of the demo or.

Kinda that aha moment when you get to show people shift board for the first time what’s your favorite or even their favorite that you’ve seen where they clue in oh yeah, okay, I

Sterling WIlson: got it. Yeah. It starts with when we show them, we always start, we, we role play in the demo, right?

And it starts with the ease of the u easy view and easy to use worker product. They’re not used to that, right? They’re really not used to seeing that. So that very easy view where, the Sally on the production line can see your schedule and do that swapping and pick up shifts. That easy.

That’s an aha moment for us. That’s a real aha, aha moment. And the other one that we really find is what we know from these industries is that [00:12:00] every company has their own way. They schedule the very own way they schedule, right? They do it in this c certain order report and determining who’s gonna work.

And we have a really sophisticated rules engine built into our software that can be configured to handle whatever specific way you schedule, whatever company you’re working for can schedule it can be configured exactly that way. And the aha moment is, We have this very when the rules engine shows you, we have a feature called Candidate Finder that shows you how they’ll find and fill the shifts and find and fill open shifts with the right individual.

That’s an aha moment for us, really. They see, oh, this is so easy to use. In fact, our demo, the kind of joke our demo is, you put all the inform, we get all the information in. You go to do auto schedule, which automatically fills all the right people in, and then you go to the candidate finder and it’ll show you on one click, you can fill all the right people into all the right [00:13:00] jobs with no additional work.

That’s an aha moment for the scheduler. So a

William Tincup: hundred years ago at Albertson’s, I used to run kinda all the cashiers and I, my scheduling was all done in paper, right? So it just boxes of time. But the thing that we cared about back then was just coverage. There’s just certain times in a grocery store where you need more coverage than you, than other.

So it gets me to think about how your rules engine works around coverage and maybe even this new world of AI or machine learning about learning and maybe even being more forecasting around their needs, around scheduling. Yeah. So give, first of all, if I’m off base, that’s fine. I just wanted to get your take on coverage and and forecasting.

Sterling WIlson: No, William, you’re, again, you’ve got some experience here. It’s clear coverage is very important, right? I don’t have enough people, and I don’t, I can’t run a production line. I gotta shut down line, right? And that hurts revenue and hurts the operations of the plant. So I just can’t do that. So we have capabilities [00:14:00] inside our solution.

We have a we call a production line scheduling, where you can tell a, we can. You tell us how many what product you’re building, right? I’m building Product X for Y or Z today, and we know how many people it takes to build that that particular product or be, need to be staffed. To do that, we can easily, completely fill out the schedule based on what you’re building today or what you’re producing your plant today.

And if you change that, You just change the algorithm, you just change the configuration there and it automatically reschedules all the people you need to make that happen. So that is a very strong suit that we have where you tie in production and demand into what you actually have to build to what the schedule looks like.

William Tincup: Love that. Okay, so questions that practitioners should ask of shift board. So if you could script the questions that practitioners, again, they’re moving off of Excel, what are the buying questions that they should be asking your team?

Sterling WIlson: [00:15:00] Yeah. So the first the first thing they should ask is do you have experience in my industry?

So we think we’re really strong in that. The second thing they should ask is can you schedule in the way I schedule. So what we want them to do is subscribe their scheduling process and how that works. And so we should we want ’em to under ask us that, can you schedule the way I schedule?

And then we obviously we feel like we have a very, we have the strongest rules engine in the marketplace today. And so we feel very good about that. We want ’em to ask us how we help them with compliance, whether the CBA or with the RP 70 55 team management when ask, have, ask about that.

Because William, we are the only company that gives a compliance guarantee. We guarantee if you put your rules in our software, that we will, our software will make sure you’re always in compliance. So we give a money back compliance guarantee about that. So that’s a very important situation that we want to hear.

Have them. Do we wanna ask ’em about scale? Can you handle a company of our size? We think we [00:16:00] can scale to any size business that we have. And in fact, our ideal customer has, somewhere between a hundred to 2000 employees at a single plant and then has multiple of those plants. That’s a great customer for us.

So those are the technical, maybe the feature requirements. But the other thing we like to ask and discuss is it’s not just about software. It’s just not only about software, it’s do you have experience? How do you implement software, how do you do that? What’s the process do you use to implement the software?

Because that takes time and effort. And the other one that’s really important is do you have experience? Helping me as an employer roll this piece of software out to all my workers. Most companies that we see today, this is a big change management operation inside a plant. Think about that, right?

You’re rolling out a piece of software to 2000 employees at a facility. Companies don’t do that very often. They really need help on the, we call it change management or [00:17:00] adoption, and we’ve got that covered, so we feel like we cover the whole thing. We got great software. We think we really have terrific software and we think we have a really top-notch implementation effort.

But when we have change management, we help you as an employer. Get this onto the phones of the 2000 workers and get them to use that so you get the full benefit of the software. And so those are the types of questions we like them to ask.

William Tincup: I love that. Okay, last thing I wanted to touch with you about is success stories where, you don’t have to get into brand names or anything, that type of stuff, but just stories that you love to talk to people about.

They went from this, To this, and here’s both the how and why, but here’s kinda the results. Here’s what they got out

Sterling WIlson: of it. Yeah, I can give you, actually, I’ll give you one with a couple of a couple specific names. Shell Oil big name. We all know Shell, shell Oil used our product to help them with fatigue management and grievances, and they ended up saving $3 million a [00:18:00] year by implementing our software.

So that’s a great example. Second one, another example is Daisy Brands. Daisy really wanted to implement our software to give a lot more flexibility and input for their workers, and they’ve really seen. Employee satisfaction and worker satisfaction increased by using our software. And the third one, I can’t name, is a large manufacturer who through an analysis of looking at our software, believed they could save in about 10 plants, about 30 million a year in cost savings by using our software by you, really helping them be more efficient in their scheduling, maybe helping them with their overtime.

Really significant dollar savings. So those are three really top of mind examples. I could give you William of people that have got great benefit from our software. I

William Tincup: love that. I did, I was remiss I didn’t ask you at the beginning in terms of the buyer because I can see ops caring about this, finance, caring about this, obviously hr caring about this.

So [00:19:00] who’s typically

Sterling WIlson: our buyer? Yeah, you nailed it. William. The op, the buyer is typically a combination of somebody in operation. So it could be plant manager, could be head of scheduling at a plant, and they’re pairing up with HR Now goes back, you remember those two things that I talked about. Four reasons companies buy the first two of being employer of choice and diverse workforce.

HR now is really important. We definitely see that. Where HR becomes very involved in the process now, cuz they care about, trying to reduce turnover and trying to make sure the plant or the facility has enough workers to, to fulfill the demand that they have. So HR is also very involved and we like it when HR gets involved cuz that usually means it’s a corporate-wide decision, not just a plant decision.

Corporations getting involved saying, I’m bringing my VP of HR in, we wanna make a standardized this across all our plants. We like to see HR involved in that process.

William Tincup: I love that. So you mentioned union. [00:20:00] Do you have some instances where you’re, in a facility or even in a company where you have union and non-union, where you have to have kind of scheduling rules, within the, even the same let’s say the same plant.

Some are unions, some aren’t, or even the same company. Do you have to have not two instances, but two, two different

Sterling WIlson: rules. Yes, a hundred percent. That’s a hundred percent true. We we do see that often where certain parts of the plant are unionized. Can be the, the shipping area is unionized, but the production floor isn’t, or right vice blister or whatever.

We do see that. And again, our software is go back to, I said it’s very configurable. We can set it up to work the way you work. So if you have a union set of workers and a non-union set of workers, we can cover that all within the same platform. Very easy common thing for us to handle. Awesome.

William Tincup: Sterling, this is Fanta. I love what you’ve built, but not just the love what you built. I love what, who you built it for, because both those industries they [00:21:00] suffer from not, just not having great software. Yeah. Because, everyone’s chasing other types of industries. So you’ve picked two wonderful industries that just, they need you and they need great software.

So just great job.

Sterling WIlson: Thank you very much, William. I really appreciate it. Yeah, we love the industry to solve and our software just solves real problems for those workers and that’s fun. It’s fun to solve software that solves a real problem for a company. We really enjoy it.

William Tincup: Absolutely and thanks again for being on the podcast, and thanks for everyone listening. Until next time.

The Use Case Podcast

William Tincup

William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.


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