For bulk uploading of employee data, we recommend using the file import option. This is a useful time-saving option, particularly when first setting-up your company’s Peakon account.

Supported file types: Microsoft Excel worksheets (xlsx) and CSV files.

When updating existing employees using the data import method, the import will match and update employee records based on the employee unique identifiers:

  • The Email address
  • The Employee ID 

If there are no matching records, the import will create a new employee record on Peakon. 

To use the file import option, click on Administration in the left hand menu, then click on Employees. Here you will find the Import and Export buttons, which will be relevant to this guide.

There are a few steps to consider prior to uploading your data. Becoming familiar with these steps will prevent errors during the upload - saving you time.

Tip: Download a template Excel sheet (found in the Import option).

Find a thorough explanation each step below:

1. Attributes

Prior to uploading your file, you need to ensure that your attributes are already set up in Peakon - our article on setting up attributes can help with that. In addition to the default contact fields, Peakon will also provide some default attributes. 

Peakon will attempt to match the columns on your sheet to the attributes on Peakon. For example, if you have a column on your Excel sheet for “Location” you would need to ensure that you have an attribute added on Peakon called “Location”. 

Default contact fields:

There is no need to create additional attributes on Peakon for the following contact fields listed below, however, a column for each of the required contact fields needs to be present in your sheet:

First name (required)
Last name (required)
Email  (required if you don't use Employee ID)
Employee ID (required if you don't use Email)

Attribute names 

Attributes names need to match exactly the column headers on Excel. If your column header in Excel is named “Age” then the attribute on Peakon should also be named "Age". It's also possible to setup alias names for your attributes meaning that the column headers can match any of the given aliases assigned to a specific attribute. For more information on setting up aliases, refer to our setting up attributes article.

Language and Timezone

The preferred language and timezones can be set on employee records using the file upload method. To set timezone and language, ensure there is a column present on the sheet for each and refer to the timezone and language article for the exact formatting requirements.

To make sure your sheet is properly formatted, you can download a template file containing the attributes you’ve already setup on Peakon. To get the template, click on the “Import” icon and you will see a “Download template” option. 

2. Unique identifiers & assigned managers

Unique identifiers

Each employee record is required to have a unique identifier on Peakon, and a column for each (if using both) should also be present on your file in order for the upload to work.

The unique identifier can be one of the following or both:

  • The Email address
  • The Employee ID 

If your employees do not have email addresses, you would need to use an Employee ID and add a column in your Excel sheet named Employee ID. The Employee ID can be alpha numeric. Where possible we recommend using both Email and Employee ID. This is because Email addresses could change where as an Employee ID is likely to remain the same, making ongoing employee record maintenance easier.  

Updating email addresses & employee ID

To update one of the unique identifiers, the other needs to be present in order to find a valid match within the system. If only one unique identifier (for example, the email address) is used, and email addresses are updated via a file upload method, duplicates will be created as a match will not be found in the system.

To update email addresses correctly:

  1. Add Employee ID's to the employee records via a file upload
  2. Then do a second upload with the updated email addresses 

The file for the second upload would need to contain the Employee ID column since that will be used to match with existing records going forward. 

Assigned managers

It is also important to ensure that each employee record has a Manager assigned to them on the file. This is an important step as Peakon will automatically map out the hierarchy and create a manager segments and groups in the access control section of the Employee overview page. 

Ensure there is a column present on the sheet containing one of the following on each employee record: 

  • The manager's First and Last name (in one cell on the sheet and spelled to match the manager's employee record)
  • The manager's Employee ID (if Employee IDs are being used as the unique identifier)
  • The manager's email address (we recommend using this in the CSV file)

We suggest using the employee manager email address or Employee ID, as there could be multiple employees with the same name and surname in large organisations.

The column header should match the attribute name on Peakon, which is typically "Manager" unless the name has been edited on Peakon. 

It may be the case that some employees do not report to a manager, such as C-level employees, for example. In such instances, simply leave out the manager’s info on the Excel sheet row containing that employee record.

3. Email domains

If your company uses multiple email domains, for example, .com and, etc. please let our Support team know so that we can add the additional domains to your account prior to uploading your employee data to prevent errors during your upload.

4. Formatting

For the Excel sheet upload to work, it is important to ensure the following prior to uploading: 

  • Column headers in Excel need to match the attribute titles exactly for the import to work (unless aliases are being used on the attributes). It is case and space sensitive. If they do not match, either change the column header or edit the attribute name on Peakon.
  • The employee email address column in Excel needs to be named “Email”.
  • The employee's manager column needs to named "Manager" unless the name has been changed to something else on the attribute.
  • Column headers need to be text - numbers will not be accepted.
  • First name and Last name need to be in separate columns in the Excel sheet. Here’s a link showing how to split text into columns.
  • If using the phone number field, ensure that the column in Excel containing phone numbers is set to a text type cell - any other type may cause the upload to fail. Number type cells will not work because of the way excel treats “+” symbols. Since many phone numbers are prefixed with a “+” for the country code, this problem is avoided by using a text type cell. Here is a link to showing how to convert numbers to text
  • Special characters in email addresses will not be accepted, however, regular characters found in an email address are fine: “@”, “-”, “.”, etc. 
  • Dates on excel need to be formatted as date type cells for the upload to work. It’s worth double checking you are using a date type cell for your date attributes such as date of birth and date of joining etc. If your dates are stored as text, here is a guide on how to convert dates stored as text to dates.
  • Dates need to be formatted as dd/mm/yyyy (when using Excel file) and YYYY-MM-DD (when using a CSV file).
  • Multiple sheets within a spreadsheet are not permitted. Your Excel sheet may only contain one sheet. 
  • Password protected Excel sheets are not supported. 

Blank Cells

Blank cells on the sheet will remove existing values on employee records. This is especially important to remember when updating employee records using the file upload method as part of on-going employee record maintenance.

Where a column is present on the sheet to match the attribute on Peakon, and blank cells are present in that column, the upload will remove the values from the employee records for that particular attribute. 

5. Importing the sheet

Once you are ready to import your data, you can click on the Import icon. On the import page you will find three option tick boxes, which are explained below.

Skip creation of employees

This option will skip creation of new employees in an import, and is useful to tick if you do not intend to add any new employees, and only update existing employees. This can help avoid any duplication of employee records.

There are a few reasons why this setting can be useful:

  • When an employee changes their email address or employee ID, and the change has not been made correctly on Peakon, a duplicate will not be created
  • Avoiding adding duplicates also means that licenses will not be used up unnecessarily

Enable overwrite of employee number or email

By default Peakon ignores updates to employees, where the employee number/ID or the email would be either changed or removed. Changes to these fields should very rarely be the case, as often it will indicate a mixup of employee numbers or emails.

There are a few cases where this could be required:

  • The old employee number was wrong, and the correct one should be set
  • The email of an employee changed, usually either because the domain is changing or the employees name changed
  • The email or employee number is being removed

In any of the above cases, the Enable overwrite of employee number or email checkbox shown in the screenshot can be checked, which will bypass the safety checks. Use with care! In instances where you do need to update employee emails, be sure to first ensure that each employee has an allocated employee number on Peakon before updating the email addresses to avoid creating duplicates.

Set valid from

Checking the Set valid from box will allow you to backdate any updates to existing employee records already on Peakon and also present on your file (if also updating existing records). Backdating will take existing results and place them into different segments, if needed. If using the Set valid from option, select a date before selecting the file to upload. 

6. Check warnings/errors

If errors occur during the upload please refer to the troubleshooting errors and warnings when using the file import method article. Warnings may also be present after the upload and these will be listed on your screen after the upload is complete.

Before clicking on the Okay I'm done option be sure to make a note of the errors or download the log that will list all the updates as well as any errors for your reference.

7. Handling duplicates

In instances such as when an employee has changed surname, and, as a result, their email address has been updated, the email address will need to be updated within the already existing employee record.

To ensure you are updating the existing employee record, ensure that the employee ID stays the same, as this is one of the two unique identifiers, which will help the system find a match to an existing employee. 

If the same employee ID is not maintained in your data set, the system will treat the new email address as a new employee, and a duplicate of the same record will be created. Whenever a duplicated record is spotted, the best way to go about it would be to ascertain which one is the older record (by looking in the Rounds tab under the employee record in question, for example) and updating the email address of this older record and deleting the newer record.

Article: Troubleshooting Errors and Warnings when Using the File Import Method
Article: Setting up attributes
Article: Setting Employee Timezone and Language using the File Import Method

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