In this article, you will learn which steps to take to import your employees' master data into Personio.
What are the benefits?
- Store the most relevant employee data for your business. With custom sections and attributes, you can configure your employees' digital files according to your organization's internal requirements.
- Create one central database for all of your employee data, ensuring everyone knows which information is stored and where to find it.
- Ensure that information is always up to date. Employees can update their personal data or particular sections of their personal data themselves if needed.
Step 1: Configure sections and employee attributes in Personio
The employee profile in Personio contains several important sections such as HR information, Personal data, and Payroll information. Each section contains various attributes that define which data should be stored in this section (such as Employment type, Weekly working hours, Hire date). You will find some predefined sections and attributes in the system, to which you can add custom sections and attributes.
▶︎ Before you start with the actual import of employee data, you need to create and configure all sections and attributes according to your needs.
▶︎ Sections and attributes must always be set up in the company language that was configured under Settings > Organization > Company > Language preference. Then you can store translations for attributes in the languages that are available in Personio: German, English, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Swedish, or Finnish.
To create and configure sections, follow these steps:
- Navigate to Settings > People > Employee Information.
- Edit the individual sections (on the left) and associated attributes (on the right).
- 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.
- Name the attribute and select an appropriate attribute type.
The type is important for how attributes are formatted and how they function.
The following table explains the different attribute types:
|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.
Numbers without decimals.
|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.
|Link||This attribute is a link.
Example: For your employees' LinkedIn or Onlyfy profiles
|Multi-line text field||
Free text field for longer texts.
Define attribute values the same way as with a List of options, but with the possibility to select several values simultaneously.
You can find an overview of additional employee sections and attributes that have proven useful, together with examples, in our Help Center articles about Best practices: Sections and attributes and the most Important preset attributes and their functionalities.
Step 2: Use the 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.
The titles of the attributes and options in the table must be named in exactly the same way as those in your Personio account. Otherwise, the import will not work.
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.
- First, download the Excel template and read the worksheet named Guideline for filling out the employee data upload file.
- Then, fill in the columns with your employee data. Each row represents one employee who is identified by their email address. The columns highlighted in yellow are required fields for new employee profiles, while for existing employees you only need to fill in the email address.
- To import the employee attributes that you have set up yourself, you can also add more columns.
- Save the complete Excel file.
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 (for example, 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.
Step 3: Additional information for the import
You can refer to the best practices below while filling in your import template:
▶︎ Preset attributes are system attributes that cannot be renamed or deleted, as they are tied to other processes in Personio.
Tip: You can hide some of the preset attributes from your employees. Create a new section and move the attributes there. Newly created sections are not visible to employees unless you give them access rights to them.
▶︎ The Excel template can be filled in retroactively with additional attributes. You will need to include a unique ID and the attributes you want to import. The previously completed attributes or system attributes will not need to be included again.
▶︎ Two employees cannot be recorded as being each other's supervisors. If an employee has no supervisor (a CEO, for example), you can leave the respective column blank.
If your company's structure has employees reporting to multiple supervisors, you will need to import at least one supervisor. You can find how to add supervisors in our article setting up additional supervisors.
Step 4: 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:
- Upload file: Upload the file to the Import section in your Personio account. Select the file type Employee bulk upload.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?.
Check if everything is set up correctly in Quality check: Personnel profile before moving on to the next module.