Step 1: Import Employee Data


The first step in the initial setup of your Personio account is to store your employees' master data. Before importing any data, you should first think about exactly what employee information you would like to manage in Personio.



Configure Employee Attributes in Personio

Employee information is displayed within the employee profile, split up over different sections, and in attributes. Attributes that are thematically related are combined in the sections. You will find some predefined sections and attributes in the system, to which you can add as many sections and attributes as you need to document the data that your organization requires.

Note Sections and attributes must always be set up in the company language that was configured under Settings > Organization > Company. Then you can store translations for attributes in the languages that are available in Personio: German, English, Spanish, French, Italian, or Dutch.

Before you start importing your data into Personio, all additional employee attributes need to be created. To do this, follow these steps:


  1. Navigate to Settings > People > Employee Information.
  2. Edit the individual Sections (on the left) and associated Attributes (on the right).
  3. Click Create a section to add further sections if needed, and click Add an attribute to set up your individual custom attributes within the section.
  4. Name the attribute and select an appropriate Attribute type.
    Note The type is important for how attributes are formatted and how they function.


The following table explains the different attribute types:

Attribute Type Explanation
Standard A simple text field for short pieces of text.
Example: names, email addresses or telephone numbers
List of options

A list of options allows you to query the attribute value. You can define possible values in advance.
Example: yes/no queries

Number (integer)

Numbers without decimals.
Example: Employee ID or a National Insurance Number.

Number (up to two decimal places) Numbers with one or two decimal places (you determine the number of decimal places when you create the attribute).
Example: child allowance and monetary amounts, or percentages.
Date This attribute value is a date.
Example: birthday
Link This attribute is a link.
Example: For your employee's LinkedIn or Xing profiles
Multi-line text field

Free text field for longer texts.
Example: messages or comments


Define attribute values the same way as with a List of options, but with the possibility to select several values simultaneously.
Example: list of languages an employee speaks.

You can find an overview of additional employee sections and attributes that have proven useful, together with examples, in our Help Center article about Best Practices: Sections and Attributes.


Use our Excel Template to Collect Employee Information

The EN Employee Data Upload Excel template (available in this article's Downloads section) is based on your account in the testing phase and contains all the attributes included.

Note The titles of the attributes and options in the table must be named the same as in your Personio account. Otherwise, the import will not work.
In older accounts, the attribute Nationality is called Citizenship.

Tip In the import templates, the column titles of attributes that are in Personio as a List of options appear in italics.
The first lines of the templates can be viewed with the restrictions permitted via a dropdown.

  1. First, download the Excel template and read the worksheet named Guideline for filling out the employee data upload file.
  2. Then, fill in the columns with your employee data. Each row represents one employee who is identified by their email address. Required columns are highlighted in yellow. These must be populated.
  3. To import the employee attributes that you have set up yourself, you can also add more columns.
  4. Save the complete Excel file.

Note Email addresses serve as unique identifiers in the system. An email address must therefore be entered for every employee – and it is particularly important for later imports as well, such as salary data. With import files that contain the email address as well as another identifier (e.g. the Employee ID), Personio will by default use the email address for importing the data. However, we don't recommend importing multiple identifiers at the same time.

If you want to fill in additional attributes retroactively using an import, the Excel template will only need to include a unique ID, e.g. the email address, and the relevant attribute(s) that you want to import. The already completed attributes or system attributes will not need to be included again.

Explanation of columns (predefined attributes only)

Column name Required column  Permitted values Explanation
First name yes Text  
Last name yes Text  
Gender yes "male" or "female," or "diverse"  
Email yes Email address Email address
Status yes "active," "inactive" or "onboarding"

active = An employee who is currently employed in your company

inactive = Former employee

onboarding = New employee, before the hire date

Note An additional status is "Leave". This cannot be imported, however. Learn how to schedule a leave period for an employee.

Employment type yes "internal", "external"

internal = An actual employee of the company

external = External employees such as freelancers or accountants (who need access to the payroll section)

Hire date yes Date Start of contract / employment start date
Supervisor Recommended Email address

Email address of the employee's direct supervisor

Important: The supervisor must also be added to the template as an employee.

Sub-company Recommended, if available Text Names of subcompanies
Office Recommended Text The employee's office/location, e.g. "Munich"
Department Recommended Text The employee's department, e.g. "Management"
Position Recommended Text The employee's title/position, e.g. "Accountant"
Contract end date Optional Date

End date of the contract (with limited-term contracts)

Termination date Optional Date

Date when the employee officially left/is leaving the company

Cost center  Optional  Text

Name of the employee's cost center

Probation period Optional Number Duration of the employee's probation period in months (blank if there is no probation period)
Weekly hours Recommended Number Number of working hours per week


Import Employee Data

You can import your employee data once you have completed all the preparatory steps.



The import process into Personio comprises the following steps:

  1. Upload file: Upload the file to the Import section in your Personio account. Select the file type Employee bulk upload.
  2. Configuring columns: In the next step, assign the columns in your Excel file to the corresponding attributes stored in Personio. It is helpful if these are named the same or at least have similar names.
  3. Preview import: You will then see a preview of the import. If you notice any errors, you can simply cancel the import and resolve the relevant problems in the Excel spreadsheet.
  4. Revision file: If your import file is formatted incorrectly, a warning box will appear. Click on the button Download revision file to download an .xls file with the columns or fields containing errors highlighted. Correct these and restart the import. For more information on import errors and how to solve them, read Why Is the Import Not Working?.

We are happy to assist you in importing your data. If you are planning to do an import and need our assistance, you can contact our service team through the Find Answers section in Personio via Help > Support and Updates > Find Answers.




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