As a CEO of a time tracking software company, I need to know what my competitors are up to. That means I’m often researching about and/or playing around with their products… you know, it’s part of the job. Here, I share my findings from that research, giving credit to those competitors where credit is due, and being honest about which products I believe you really need to avoid. And so, there you have it, this review. And in it, I try to be honest, fair, and insightful.
This review covers:
- What Do Users Like About Deputy?
- What Don’t Users Like About Deputy?
- What Pricing Plans Does Deputy Offer?
- What are the Standout Features of Deputy?
- Selected Positive User Feedback
- Selected Negative User Feedback
- What are Deputy’s Review Ratings from Review Sites?
- What’s My Final Verdict on Deputy?
Deputy is a cloud-based solution for time tracking and productivity enhancement developed and presented by Deputechnologies. It is marketed as a reliable second-in-command whose mission is to Simplify Shift Work™ and envisions Thriving workplaces in every community™. These all sound like lofty ideals, but living up to them is a whole other story altogether, and in this review, I’ll help you discover if it does.
Aside from time tracking, Deputy is also intended as an all-in-one solution for various business needs such as shift scheduling, project and task assignment, worked hours calculation, performance monitoring, team communication, and break management that is compliant with local and federal break legislation. It helps streamline admin work so businesses can cut back on time and resources traditionally devoted to these processes and focus on the things that really matter — fostering growth and producing high-quality output. Deputy is easily accessible via desktop, mobile, and kiosks so work can happen anytime, from the comfort of home or an office desk to on-site locations or the rigors of the road.
In addition to that, Deputy also claims to have the highest overall user scores for estimated ROI, ease and straightforwardness of setup, and adoption.
Some of the things that make Deputy shine are its touchless facial recognition feature for clocking in and timesheet verification, accurate and real-time digital timesheets with automatic wage calculation, GPS location stamps and geofencing, dynamic and actionable reporting to review and compare worked hours and profits, comprehensive break compliance, and facilitation of payroll with third-party integrations. I’m also quite impressed by their pretty powerful scheduling tools, the thoughtful employee engagement feature, and the concept of the centralized communication newsfeed to ensure that everyone stays in the loop all in one place.
However, Deputy has its fair share of challenges as well, and as promised, this review will cover all sides of the story. It can be glitchy and slow at times, and there is a significant lag in grabbing, starting, and ending shifts. Copying and pasting schedules can be a drag when the software overrides user preferences with pre-programmed options. Large and multi-location operations experience difficulties with GPS tracking. The mobile apps offer limited functionality, especially for Android. Its HR functionality is somewhat limited, and it offers very limited non-English languages for the interface.
Now, before we make any conclusions, it’s only fair to closely examine what Deputy has to offer. So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!
What Do Users Like About Deputy?
- Touchless facial recognition
- Automatic wage calculation
- GPS tracking and geofencing
- In-depth reports
- Powerful scheduling tools
- Dynamic employee engagement
- Centralized communication newsfeed
What Don't Users Like About Deputy?
- Glitchy and slow performance
- Lack of functionalities in the Android app
- GPS difficulties with large and multi-location operations
- Limited HR functionality
- Limited non-English languages for the interface
What Pricing Plans Does Deputy Offer?
Deputy has five paid plan variants, each with a specific target, as well as a free trial period and discounts. Let’s take a closer look:
Deputy Scheduling Plan
The Deputy Scheduling Plan is designed for businesses that need a better way to create and manage schedules and communicate with their team.
At $3.50 per user per month, businesses get unlimited shifts per month, employee scheduling, auto-scheduling, POS integration, PTO & leave management. They also get the news feed, tasking, open API, dashboard, meal & rest break planning, demand planning, SMS & email notifications, availability management, shift swap and find replacement, schedule templates, and 24/7 email support.
Deputy Time and Attendance Plan
The Deputy Time and Attendance Plan is intended for businesses that need to track attendance and seamlessly export timesheets to payroll.
For $3.50 per user per month, this plan gives businesses access to features such as unlimited timesheets per month, payroll integration, POS Integration, and PTO & leave management. They also get the news feed, tasking, open API, dashboard, performance & journaling, time clock with biometric & geolocation capture, and custom timesheet fields, and 24/7 email support.
Deputy Premium Plan
The Deputy Premium Plan addresses both the Scheduling and Time and Attendance targets and adds reporting into the mix.
Priced at $4.90 per user per month when billed monthly or $4.20 when billed annually, this plan has all the features of both Scheduling and Time and Attendance, plus reporting and the Shift Pulse™ employee engagement feature.
Deputy Flexi Weekly Plan
The Deputy Flexi Weekly Plan is designed for seasonal businesses that need all the features of the Premium Plan and the flexibility to pay only $2.50 per active user per week, and $0.50 per inactive user per week, billed monthly.
Deputy Enterprise Plan
The Deputy Enterprise Plan is for organizations with more than 250 members and complex custom configuration needs.
This plan has all the Premium features, plus SSO, advanced demand planning, advanced reporting and analytics, custom-built enterprise agreements, custom implementation, custom roles & permissions, custom organization structure, dedicated enterprise support, location & department level procedures, and training matrix. Pricing for this plan is custom, and prospective users must contact Deputy directly for a quote.
Free Trials and Discounts
Deputy doesn’t have a free plan, but it does have a generous free trial period that lasts up to 31 days to help users decide if the software is a good fit for their companies. During this period, businesses can try all features for free, and signing up takes only a few minutes. Users will not be asked for their credit cards, and 24/7 support is available.
If the entity that signs up is a charity or non-profit, they can receive a customized discount based on their qualifications. These are reviewed and decided on a case-to-case basis by Deputy. To apply for a charity or non-profit discount, prospective users must select “Charity” as their industry upon signing up.
What are the Standout Features of Deputy?
1. Deputy Time Tracking and Real-Time Attendance
Deputy captures hours accurately with its easy-to-use employee time clock. Time tracking is simplified for employees with multiple clock-in and cock-out options such as the touchless facial recognition on kiosks that we’ve discussed in the Overview, as well as more traditional methods like using a PIN on shared devices, through the Deputy website on a browser, or directly from mobile phones, and even on smartwatches. And if none of these are viable options, such as in extreme working conditions, clocking in and out can also be done through SMS from a non-smartphone.
In office settings, the best way to clock in and out of work is through the Deputy website using Google Chrome. To do this, users simply have to visit the site, enter their email and password, navigate to the Me tab, and click the start shift button. This will start the timer running, and when done with the day, users can simply navigate back to the tab and click the end shift button. Easy, right?
The Me tab on the Deputy website also displays important information about users’ shifts such as the scheduled start and end times of their shift, the task and location they’re scheduled for, and the number of shifts and hours they’ve worked for the current week. It also doubles as a dashboard where users can see tasks that need attention or approval.
If working in an on-site location in a non-desk capacity, the best way to mark attendance and track hours is through the Deputy Kiosk that system administrators can set up at each work location using either an iPad or Android tablet. To log in, users can simply select their name from the left side of the screen and enter the kiosk PIN assigned to them. The system will then take their photo for timesheet verification purposes, which managers can review to ensure that the right person is clocking in for the shift. After that, they can click the log-out button at the bottom left corner of the screen to ensure that no one can end their shift prematurely or see the tasks assigned to them. When they’re done with their shift, they can follow the same procedure to get off the clock, and again click the log-out button to secure their account.
Alternatively, system managers can also set up touchless clock-in on the kiosks that activate with voice commands to help ease concerns about contact-transferred pathogens. This is especially helpful in a post-pandemic world, with emphasis on industries providing healthcare such as hospitals and clinics. To initiate an action, users simply have to walk up to the kiosk, hold still, and smile for the camera so Deputy can scan their faces and match it with the profile photo stored in the system, and use voice commands such as “start shift”, “end shift”, “start break” and “end break” to indicate the desired action.
When working remotely, on the field, or on the go, users can clock in and out and out using the Android, iOS, and Apple Watch apps. To start a shift on smartphones, users simply need to launch the Deputy app, click the start shift in area button from the home tab, review the shift details in the resulting shift page, leave an optional comment to note anything for their managers’ attention, and click the start shift button located at the bottom of the screen. For Apple Watches, users simply need to unlock, open the Deputy App, and hit the start shift button. They need to ensure that they’re logged into the Deputy app on the paired iPhone beforehand, tough.
Users can also start and end breaks using their mobile devices or Apple Watches. They simply need to navigate to the Deputy app, click start break to begin, and click end break to return to work. And when they’re done for the day, they can simply open the app and click end shift.
Now, there are times when clocking in or out using those options just won’t cut it, such as in extreme conditions, when internet connection is down, or when users don’t have access to internet-connected devices. Deputy still has a way to let them clock in and out of their shifts and even log their breaks. Aside from in-app and email notifications, the system also sends SMS messages with shift information for the week to employees. On the starting time of their scheduled shift, they can reply “start shift” to that message, or “start shift name_of_department” if starting an unscheduled shift. To start and end breaks, they simply have to send “break shift”. And when finally done for the day, they can send “stop shift” to clock out. If during the course of the day they forgot to log their breaks, they can do so at the end of the day by simply sending “stop shift x”, with x being the number of minutes they took for breaks.
For users, having a variety of ways to clock in means that they can easily mark their attendance and capture every minute of work time to ensure that they are compensated fairly for their efforts. On the admin side, attendance and accountability are ensured with the use of GPS location stamping to show that employees are clocking in from the right place, or more drastically through geofencing which ensures that only employees within the virtual perimeter around the job site are allowed to clock in. These, in conjunction with facial recognition, ensure that buddy-punching and hours-padding are eradicated from the ranks.
The time clock also displays employee attendance in real-time, showing managers who’s present and on duty, who’s running late, and who’s on break time. This makes it easy to review and monitor coverage, and should the need arise, empty shifts can be filled with only a few clicks.
However, the experience of clocking in and out of work can be glitchy and slow occasionally. There’s also the matter of the frustrating lag when starting and ending shifts and breaks which can affect productive time. While not really a deal-breaker at the outset, these can add up and become a problem over time, so that’s something to keep in mind when deciding on getting Deputy for your business.
2. Deputy Auto-Scheduling
Deputy offers cutting-edge auto-scheduling assisted by AI that eliminates the need to build schedules shift by shift. This AI-powered feature creates schedules based on data analytics from multiple demand signals such as sales, foot traffic, season, occasions, and more. What I love about this feature is that it takes the guesswork and agony out of scheduling and ensures that schedules are optimized with the most suitable workers in every shift.
Users can specify parameters and considerations for the auto-scheduling feature to follow, such as accurate labor forecasting for priorities like cost and shift equality, or even match preferences to create rosters that best match business needs. Shift lengths, start times, and other preferences can also be factored in to ensure that employees are kept happy and productive. All of these considerations can be specified in the initial setup and then reflected in custom schedule structures at the click of a button with Auto-Fill.
Best of all, Deputy’s auto-scheduling feature also takes legal compliance with wage and work hours laws into consideration, so employers have an automatic guard against legal violations that endanger businesses.
However, while the design and intent of the function is great, there are some problems in its real-life application. For one, the systems seems to be always intent on overriding user preferences with pre-programmed options. It doesn’t remember the hours set by users, and if they’re different from the parameters of the built-in options, they can’t do much about it. This makes copying and pasting schedules quite frustrating, and wastes admin time instead of saving it.
In addition to that, there’s also a significant lag in grabbing shifts. Now, that’s may just be minor annoyance for most, but could mean the world when several employees are trying to grab a shift that they want to suit their limited to their availability. I think the ones who will lose out would appreciate if the grabbing function was a bit more responsive! But kidding aside, such unresponsiveness across features could add up and eventually contribute to a negative experience for users, which means time wasted on waiting for things to work.
Another area of improvement for this feature suite would be their ease of use on mobile devices and tablets, which does not offer the same experience as on desktop. And because AI needs to be “trained” in order to “learn”, the automated scheduler could take a bit of time to fully function at optimal levels.
3. Deputy Employee Break Compliance
Breaks are an essential part of the work day, as they allow employees to devote a bit of time for their needs and for rest so they can be at 100% on the hours that they’re actively working. Mandatory breaks for meals and rest are covered by the law, and their lengths and frequency are dictated by the United States Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. The states of New York, Washington, Massachusetts, Oregon, and California have tougher restrictions than most. For such a crucial aspect of work, ensuring compliance to avoid potentially catastrophic and costly violations is difficult — if not totally impossible — with paper-based or manual scheduling.
Luckily, Deputy has break planning and compliance functionality across all devices that enable businesses to create compliant schedules and manage both paid and unpaid meal and rest breaks. This is a very valuable tool that eliminates the employer’s worry about compliance with break legalities by harnessing the power of AI to create schedules that factor in complicated workplace regulations with ease.
With this feature, employers can be confident about scheduling multiple breaks in a single shift without sacrificing coverage, prevent non-compliant early clock-in and early break returns, have attestation showing compliance and all break details for company records, and ensure that employees are getting the downtime they need to ensure optimum performance.
What I also love about this feature is that it forces employees to really take some time for themselves during the workday. It can be very easy to forget to eat or rest when fully immersed in work, and that can have serious implications on both physical and mental health. Deputy’s break compliance helps take care of that, and hopefully, promote healthier practices in the workplace.
4. Deputy Payroll Integrations
The data captured by the Deputy employee time clock are automatically translated into timesheets that can be reviewed and verified with GPS location stamping and facial recognition and then approved individually or in bulk.
These accurate and verified timesheets cut down on admin tasks by automatically calculating the various pay rates for every employee, job, and location, including overtime and penalty, and can be exported to any of the many Deputy third-party payroll integrations with just one click.
Deputy integrates with various payroll software to save time and provide even deeper insight into captured work hours data. These include the usual suspects such as Xero, QuickBooks Online, ADP, MYOB, Access WageEasy, and more.
Aside from payroll software, Deputy also integrates with point of sales, human resources, storage, sales forecasting, financial wellness, and other software to vastly improve its usability and functionalities. Plus, its integration with Zapier opens up even more possibilities.
Now, while I’m truly impressed by the wealth of integrations offered by Deputy it needs to work on their seamlessness. Exporting to Xero can be problematic at times, and integrating with financial apps can be quite difficult. Plus, it also doesn’t offer much in the way of customization so users have to make do with what’s available.
Selected Positive User Feedback:
- “Deputy integrates easily with Rippling – it auto pushes approved hours to weekly payroll runs, (…) asset that minimizes the opportunity for human error.” – Caroline B. (Source G2)
- “Push notifications are prompt and accurate – scheduling is simple and clear.” – Grant A. (Source G2)
- “Deputy allows me to track all the employees and easily view which hours were worked on which day and by whom.” – Austin K. (Source Capterra)
- “Nice UI, easy-to-use software. Fairly basic for timekeeping but seems like it could do the job well and be reliable.” – Matt L. (Source G2)
- “We are now able to keep a proper track of all employees’ attendance as well as distributing tasks to them.” – Albert A. (Source Capterra)
- “Ease of use and security for each member of staff. With the addition of the onboarding facility, Deputy has become a vital part of our operation.” – Heather T. (Source Capterra)
- “It saves the company scheduler time, helps us keep the time off requests and scheduling organized, and has made it much easier to communicate the work schedule to our employees.” – Stacy M. (Source Capterra)
- “Deputy has made it much easier to track employees start and finish times and also the formatted time sheets speeded up the wages preparation process.” – Leanne F. (Source Capterra)
- ”When it’s time for payroll, it takes two clicks, and it is uploaded to the payroll system.” – Verified User in Construction (Source G2)
Selected Negative User Feedback:
- “The app isn’t fully functional. It could take a bit of time for the automated scheduler to do its thing.” – Grace T. (Source Capterra)
- “Integrating other financial applications was difficult. Doesn’t allow to customize.” – Alex B. (Source Capterra)
- “Scheduling employees and rounding times could use a bit of refining.” – Austin K. (Source Capterra)
- “The Android app doesn’t provide as many features as the iPhone app.” – Glenda M. (Source Capterra)
- “I wish it synced with my Google calendar. It has an outdated user interface.” – Troy M. (Source Capterra)
- “I dislike how it will not let me override the error messages I get for the shifts that are copied and pasted from the week before. It will leave the shifts blank, and I have to go back and forth from the previous week and manually put in and override the restrictions.” – Solange P. (Source G2)
- “I wish the scheduling facility was easier to use on a mobile or tablet.” – Heather T. (Source Capterra)
- “Staff with Android phones and tablets are unable to access the news feed. The interface is outdated.” – Karen D. (Source Google Playstore)
- “Geofencing is not the best. This is ultimately why we quit using it.” – Verified User in Apparel & Fashion (Source G2)
- “Sometimes exporting to Xero can be problematic. Customer service with this issue has been slightly lackluster, so it required a bit of fiddling.” – Jimi W. (Source Capterra)
- “When I’ve made changes to employee location, a variety of errors resulted – employee can’t clock-in, the employee sees whole organization’s timecards.” – David C. (Source G2)
What are Deputy's Review Ratings from Review Sites?
- Capterra: 4.6/5
- Play Store: 4.6/5
- G2: 4.6/5
- GetApp: 4.6/5
- PCMag: 4.5/5
- Software Advice: 4.5/5
- TrustRadius: 8.6/10
What's My Final Verdict on Deputy?
Deputy is a very good solution for businesses that need a complete admin and HR tool to increase productivity and streamline processes. In the course of research for this review, I’ve found out that it is an efficient second in command that when utilized properly, delivers amazing results. I think this is aptly reflected in the user reviews on several sites that we’ve checked out — nothing less than 4.5 stars, and I believe those ratings are truly well-deserved.
What I like the most about Deputy is that it is designed with progress in mind, and this is shown in the brilliance of its AI-powered automations in scheduling and break compliance — although it may need a bit of time to “learn” in order to work optimally. The touchless facial recognition clock-in is also a good initiative, especially in this post-pandemic era where sanitary concerns occupy an important space in our collective consciousness.
I also feel that Deputy is truly empowering for both employers and employees. The accountability guardrails provided by GPS tracking and facial recognition ensure that time theft is eliminated, but they’re not too intrusive like other software that borders on micromanagement. Deputy has this respect for the autonomy of the employee that balances very well with its mission to enforce accountability among the ranks. Another great feature that seeks to bridge the gap between employers and employees is the Shift Pulse™ feature which allows employees to have a voice, and for management to keep in touch with the reality and needs of their teams on the ground. Whatever brings harmony and positivity, I’m all for it.
But, just like any other software out there, Deputy has its share of imperfections, and as promised at the beginning of this review, I will be completely honest about everything.
First of all, the bugs and glitches really take away from what would otherwise be a pleasant experience with Deputy. Slow performance is also an issue, and I can see this negatively affecting non-desk staff in a major way, along with the difficulties encountered by mobile app users, particularly those on Android. And if you add the GPS challenges faced by multi-location and larger operations, we have a triple threat to businesses that might just be a dealbreaker.
The limited HR functionality can be remedied by rolling out new features over time, and I have great hopes that Deputy will keep on developing their product as we move forward. Perhaps they will also consider adding more languages to the interface so that it becomes more inclusive.
Despite these limitations, I would still recommend Deputy for any organization seeking a reliable and feature-rich HR management and shift scheduling solution. I look forward to seeing its present challenges and issues addressed in the coming years, and I’m sure its users do, too.
Deputy is hands down one of the best, if not the best, shifts scheduling app around. The AI scheduler is a great way to streamline the scheduling process and save admin time.
Deputy has some bugs and glitches that take away from an otherwise positive user experience.