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 you use Excel for bulk updating, the import will match and update employee records based on the employee "Email" address or "Employee ID" in your Excel file. If there are no matching records, the import will create a new employee record on Peakon. 

To use the file import option, click on the “Configuration” in the left hand menu, then click on "Employees".

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.

Step 1. Ensure all the relevant attributes have been created on Peakon prior to uploading your file

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 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 the Timezone and Language article for the exact formatting requirements.

Pro tip: Download a template Excel sheet.

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. See illustrations below.

Step 2. Ensure that each employee has a unique identifier and an assigned manager.

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:

  • Email
  • 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.  

Ongoing employee record maintenance, such as updating email addresses, is a valid consideration. For example, when both Employee ID and Email is being used, it's possible to update the email address if needed via a file upload as the Employee ID will be the unique identifier used to match with existing records on Peakon during the file upload. 

If Email only was being used and an attempt was made to update employee email addresses via a file upload, it would create new employee records for each new email address detected on the sheet (and then you would have duplicate employee records with the old and new email). In such a case you would need to first add Employee IDs to the records on Peakon via a file upload and then you would be able to do another upload thereafter where the email addresses are being updating. 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, although you can also use the manager's name but this is more prone to errors 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 email address or name on the Excel sheet row containing that employee record.

Step 3. Ensure that all the relevant domains have been added to your Peakon account

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.

Step 4. Ensure your Excel sheet is correctly formatted and meets the requirements

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)
  • The excel upload can support a maximum of 15000 rows.
  • 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. 

Step 5. Importing your excel sheet

Once you ready to import your data, you can click on the “Import” icon. 

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. 

Note that any data on the file that is updating existing records will be backdated. If the intention is to only backdate certain attributes on the file, we recommend uploading a file containing only the columns that require backdating. Remember that blank cells in headed columns will remove attribute values.

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.

Step 6 addressing any warnings or errors during or after the upload attempt

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.

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

Did this answer your question?