How to Sync HRIS Data from Workday

How to sync HRIS data from Workday

Jared Ellis avatar
Written by Jared Ellis
Updated over a week ago

What can I learn from this page?

How to sync HRIS data from Workday

Who is this guide for?

Account Admins

Note: Workday uses our full import process. When your data syncs, any employees not included in your data file will become inactive as former employees, with their End Date set to the import date. See: Importing your user data to Culture Amp for more information.

Culture Amp can import all your employee data directly from Workday using the "Reports as a Service" (RaaS) API facility within Workday. Once the integration is configured, you can set it to sync data manually (as triggered by an Account Administrator in Culture Amp) or automatically on a daily basis.

You will need to work with your internal Workday specialist, or a support contact at Workday, in order to generate the custom report that is used to integrate with Culture Amp.

Step 1: Create a Custom Workday Report

Create a custom JSON report in Workday that has your required fields and includes all users that are active in Culture Amp.

The custom report must:

  • Include all demographics and all active employees that should appear in Culture Amp. Any employees not included in the report will be deactivated in the Culture Amp platform.

  • Have "web services enabled" so that Culture Amp can successfully communicate with the Workday Reports-as-a-Service API.

  • Be in JSON format.

  • Have a report owner with appropriate permissions to access all demographics that appear in the report (see below for additional tips on security permissions)

Example screenshots:

Workday report builder


Workday report filter - add / remove certain employee types from the report


Enable web services


Enable sharing


At a minimum, you should include the following demographics:

  • Name

  • Email

  • Employee_ID

You can also include Preferred Name (Preferred_First_Name), Date of Birth (Birth_Date) and Start Date (Start_Date). You should also include any other columns you wish to use as demographics in Culture Amp. For example, Gender, Country or Role.

Important Things to Check:

  • Date fields: Any date-based demographics must match the standard date formats in Culture Amp (mmm dd, yyyy, MMM DD YYYY or YYYY-MM-DD). You may need to add yyyy-MM-dd format mask in the Workday "Format Date" calculated fields, or alternatively change the ISU (Integration System User Account) to en_US locale.
    You may also have Date of Birth and Start Date titled differently in Workday (for example, you may have a Hire Date instead of Start Date). Please note that in order for Culture Amp to recognize these demographics as age and tenure respectively, you need to map the demographic fields through the API to Culture Amp exactly as Birth_Date and Start_Date (XML override column)

  • Whitespace and underscores: Any whitespace or special characters in a demographic name will be replaced with an underscore when sent to Culture Amp, e.g. "Office location" will be sent as "Office_location". If you have existing demographics in Culture Amp with whitespaces or special characters, you should consider mapping those values to avoid the introduction of duplicate demographics. More information will be provided in Step 4 of this article.

  • Users included in your report: Ensure that you include all users that you would like Active in the Culture Amp platform including yourself. Any user that is not include in the Workday Report to Culture Amp will be deactivated

Step 2: Generate Report Credentials

Workday report information is pulled into Culture Amp in JSON format. The following credentials need to be pulled from your Workday report to successfully initiate the integration with Culture Amp:

This process will likely require working with your IT team and/or a Workday technical representative. Feel free to put Culture Amp Product Support in direct contact with this representative so that the Support Team are able to liaise with this contact to get your integration configured.

Step 3: Add the Integration in Culture Amp

Once you have the report configured, add the integration in Culture Amp by entering the URL of the report, and the username and password used to access the report. You can access the set up page via the Settings > Data Integrations page in the platform.

During set up in Culture Amp, you have the option to decide if you want to enable automatic syncs, and set a contact email address that will be sent notifications if there are any issues with the integration.

Note: We do not have a test environment. Testing will need to be completed with actual data from Workday to the Culture Amp Production Environment

Step 4: Contact Culture Amp Support for Demographic Mapping (if Required)

Before syncing your data for the first time, contact Culture Amp Product Support to help complete the mapping of your Workday demographics to your Culture Amp demographics.

Workday converts spaces to underscores during the file transfer process, syncing without mapping your demographics can lead to duplicated demographics in the Culture Amp platform that may skew your survey insights.

Please note that mapping to remove underscores is not required for the core demographics; we expect to receive the following through:

  • Name

  • Preferred_Name OR Preferred_First_Name

  • Email

  • Employee_Id

  • Start_Date

  • End_Date

  • Birth_Date

Step 5: Sync Your User Data

You're now able to sync your user data into Culture Amp. Workday data will replace the data that is in Culture Amp for the users that are included in the report and deactivate the users that are not in the report.

If you have enabled daily syncs, we recommend running a manual sync after setting up your integration to confirm everything is syncing correctly. You’ll be prompted to do this when you save your integration. You can run a manual sync at any time by navigating to your Settings > Users > Import Users page, or via the sync button on the Settings > Data integrations page.

Once you have started a manual sync, Culture Amp will step you through the same verification process as if you were uploading your data manually via the Import Users process. After you have reviewed your data and clicked import, the sync will run in the background and could take anywhere from a couple of seconds to a few minutes.

Add Your Hierarchy

Once your integration has been successfully set up, the process of adding hierarchy to your account is a once off manual task.

The steps to add hierarchy to your account can be located via our Add your hierarchy guide.

Troubleshooting Workday Integration Issues

In most cases, the best method to employ when troubleshooting a Workday sync is to download the raw JSON of the Workday report, directly from Workday:

  1. Visit the Workday report URL in your browser, and

  2. Enter the username/password credentials you have configured in Culture Amp (Integration username and password not your own)

If the file export fails, you have entered incorrect credentials.

The file will list all users, and values for all fields visible to the report user.



Expected fields from Workday are not showing up on the Review Import Summary Screen

Check the report user has appropriate permissions to read all included fields. See further tips re permissions here

Expected users are not showing up on the Review Import Summary Screen

Check your Workday report filters.

Sync spinner stuck cycling without progressing to the Review Import Summary Screen

Check your Workday report credentials. Disable, then re-enable Workday sync, and re-input credentials.

Additional Info / Helpful Tips:

Handling Re-Hires

Problem: Employee data syncs will skip (ignore) employees who have been rehired because their Start Date is more recent than the End Date. This is because the sync does not remove the old "End Date" data from users when they do not have a new "End Date" listed in the report on Workday.
Possible Solutions:
1. Assign a distant future end date to the re-hires, such as "July 9, 2099". That will cause the sync to reactivate and update their user profiles.
Alternatively, you could assign distant future end dates to all active users; then any user who gets assigned a near term date (termination date) will have that updated during a sync.
2. Create a calculated field in Workday to use as the End Date instead of the more commonly used Termination Date.
This would be an `Evaluate Expression` calculated field, where the default value is blank and the statement is `IF Term Date > Most Recent Hire Date, return Term Date`
In the `xml override column`, you'll need to add `End_Date` so that the field is picked up by the integration.

Security Permissions

Problem: Fields / Values not syncing through to Culture Amp via Workday? Security permissions can cause these issues, i.e if the integration user (Workday username in Culture Amp, such as “ISU_CultureAmp”) doesn’t have permission to view the field(s) / domain(s).
Note that Workday may not always indicate that the integration user does not have permission to view the field(s) / domain(s), so it's recommended to manually review the permissions
Solution/Info: Each table (business object) in Workday, such as the ‘Worker’ business object for example, sits on a security domain, so it may be necessary to ensure the integration user has permission to view the relevant domains and / or specific fields.

This is something to check particularly when you're using calculated fields in your custom report. Calculated fields can include several conditions, and each of those conditions may be based on different fields, so it’s necessary for the integration user to have permission to view each of the fields those conditions are based on.

How to check / troubleshoot on Workday:
- Download the .json report whilst logged in as the integration user (username and password configured in Culture Amp, i.e. the Integration user's username and password not your own)
Please note that this may need to be done in your Workday sandbox if you don't have a note of the integration user's password (so that you can reset the integration password first) -- Remember, if you reset the integration user's password, you'll also need to update that password in Culture Amp Data Integrations page afterwards.
- This is essentially proxying in as the Culture Amp integration user to enable you to view what fields / values are being sent via the integration, rather than viewing the report via your own user profile, which will likely have permissions to view all of the fields and data.

Integration Permissions in Workday (Domain Security)


Troubleshooting Integration Issues (General)

The first step when investigating HRIS data issues is to check the import summary for your most recent import. This will provide information about the state of your integration.

To find this information, go to Account Administration > Import History and select your most recent import.

If there was a problem with your last import, you will either be able to view errors on this page or you will be prompted to run a manual sync to identify any problems.

Handling of Inactive Employees

During an HRIS sync, all employees (active and inactive) may be imported (depending on your custom report logic).

If an employee has a past Termination Date they will be made inactive in Culture Amp as a former employee. If an employee has a future Termination Date they will be made inactive in Culture Amp upon that date as a former employee (Note: some HRIS do not support future Term dates). Any updates to inactive employees, such as a changed end date or any other update to demographic information, may be applied during the sync.
If an employee is active in Culture Amp but not present in your HRIS report, they will be made inactive in Culture Amp as a former employee. This is because the data is processed using our Full Import process.

Note: The default behavior for users left off your HRIS sync file is to set their end date to the import date, categorizing them as former employees. If you prefer that these users are treated as deactivated instead, just contact Culture Amp Support, and we can adjust the default setting.

Sync Blocked Due to Swapped Employee IDs

Your sync might be blocked if Culture Amp suspects that one of your employees may have had their details mixed up with another.

If a combination of an employee's Name, Date of Birth, Email or Employee ID are changed, the sync may be blocked. This is to prevent an employee accidentally getting access to another employee's private information, such as performance reviews.

If you've intentionally changed the employee's details, you can run a manual sync to push through the change. Simply click 'Import data' from the Users page and select 'Sync'. Culture Amp will guide you through the rest.

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