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How to Send HRIS Data from Paylocity through SFTP
How to Send HRIS Data from Paylocity through SFTP

How to send HRIS data from Paylocity via SFTP

Jared Ellis avatar
Written by Jared Ellis
Updated this week

What can I learn from this page?

How to send HRIS data from Paylocity via SFTP

Who is this guide for?

Account Admins

Note: this guide covers how you can send your HRIS data from Paylocity through a SFTP connection which uses our PARTIAL import process. Partial imports are good for when you upload a data file that contains new or updated information for a subset of your employees. Employees NOT in your data file will remain active. See: Importing your user data to Culture Amp for more information.

We now also offer a native integration with Paylocity, please refer to this guide for further details.

You can save time and effort by configuring your HRIS to automatically extract and send your employee data to Culture Amp via Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP).

Paylocity’s SFTP setup is multistep and can take up to 6 months to complete. Any additional changes may also take up to a month to complete. Paylocity currently charges for this feature and costs will vary per setup. To start the process and confirm setup details, contact Paylocity at

This article covers the main steps throughout the set up process. Please be sure to connect with Paylocity’s support team to confirm details and requirements for the set up.

Paylocity updates the user data using our Partial Import process. This means that you can update or add data to via SFTP and manual uploads if you do not have all your information available in your Paylocity.

Overview of the Process

You will need to choose the option for Paylocity in Culture Amp.

You can head to the Settings > Data Integrations page in the Culture Amp platform to reveal the set up information that is required further along in the set up process. This page will also contain details you will need to share with Paylocity when these are requested.

Paylocity requires the following forms:

  • Letter of Intent

  • Paylocity Automated Data Exchange / Application Programming Interface (PADE / API)

Step 1: Paylocity Creates an HR & Payroll Custom Report

  • The column titles must be identical to demographic titles in Culture Amp or it will not update the correct information in Culture Amp. If there is any variation such as capitalization or spelling, it will create a new demographic in Culture Amp with duplicate data.

  • Paylocity’s HR Custom tab fields can be included in the Custom Report.

  • Make sure the request information is added correctly. Any additions or edits to the HR & Payroll Custom Report may take between 2-12 weeks to update.

Report titles - Non-custom tab

  • Name

  • Preferred Name

  • Employee ID

  • Email (NB: Set this field to pull work emails only)

  • Date of Birth

  • Start Date

  • Manager

  • Gender

  • Department

  • Location

  • Employment Type

  • Manager Email

  • Title

  • Ethnicity

  • End Date

Example of custom report titles - custom tab: (Items to think about)

  • Job Level

  • On an IC Plan (Yes/No)

  • Executive Leader

  • Org Level

  • Include in Surveys


  • Active and Terminated employees

  • All Employment types

These filters allow for new users, rehires, deactivations, and all data adjustments to active/terminated employees.

Step 2: Test the Custom Report in Culture Amp to Ensure Accuracy

  1. Export the report from Paylocity in XLSX or CSV format.

  2. Head to your Settings > Import Users > Partial Import page and upload the custom report. You will need to go through the steps until you reach the “Review Import Summary” stage.

  3. Review any errors and request adjustments to the report, if any are required.
    **Reminder: Paylocity can take 2 weeks to 3 months to complete adjustments

  4. Cancel and do not “Apply changes”. This is because you are only testing the data and do not want to apply the changes via this manual upload process.

Step 3: Create the SSH Key pairing for the SFTP between Paylocity and Culture Amp, do in tandem with Step 4

  • Use this guide from Culture Amp for setting up the pair, engage your IT team for key assistance. Please send Paylocity the private key (.ppk file) by attaching it to the email

  • The Paylocity Integration team will reach out and need the following information. Some of this information can be found in Culture Amp (Account Admin > Data Integrations > Other). Make sure the hostname and username you use to set up your SFTP client are copied directly from the setup form in Culture Amp. Both are case-sensitive.

Integration details

  • Host: Can be found Culture Amp

  • Username: Can be found Culture Amp

  • Password: ppk - keys for Paylocity to create open SSH key pair

  • Port (if 21, an encryption key is required): N/A

  • Sub Directory: \

  • Filename: Can be anything, per Paylocity

  • Output Type (i.e. .csv, .txt, .xlsx, etc): .xlsx

  • Frequency to be sent: per client (Recommended daily)

  • Technical Contact for additional questions: IT contact on client-side

The PPK key format is not very common, especially on mac. IT teams have had success generating the PPK by using PuTTYgen. They needed to install brew in order to install PuTTYgen.

Commands (note that these commands were run on macOS Catalina)

This first requires installing brew on a Mac

  1. $ brew install puttygen

  2. $ puttygen -t rsa -b 4096 -C “” -o name_of_private_key.ppk

  3. $ puttygen name_of_private_key.ppk -O public-openssh -o

Private key - PPK: Send to Paylocity

Public key - PUB: Add into Culture Amp (we used our email alias at the end of the .pub block)

Step 4: Finalising the Setup in Culture Amp

In Culture Amp, head to Settings > Data Integrations > Other integration Options and here you can input the .pub (public key) and save the settings.

Step 5: The Paylocity Integration Team Will Reach Out via Service@ to Set Up a Meeting

The Paylocity integration team will reach out via service@ to set up a meeting to ensure the team understands which custom report will be sent via SFTP, is pulling the right data & has the right report filters.

  • This SFTP setup takes up to 3 weeks

  • Culture Amp only accepts XLSX and CSV files. Please ensure that one of these file types is the type your report is being sent in.

  • Paylocity will send two test files to Culture Amp before confirming the integration is live.

    • Please ensure your report is set up correctly before this testing happens.

    • Please ensure that your report does not have test data as this information will be uploaded into the platform.

    • If your file is contains errors and is blocked by the platform, please complete the prompts included within Step 2 in this article. These steps will inform about what issue is preventing the information in your report from being uploaded via SFTP. You will need to adjust the highlighted errors and attempt to send the file via SFTP again.

Troubleshooting Integration Issues

We recommend contacting your Paylocity representative for assistance when setting up an SFTP integration. The setup can be complicated and take up to several months to complete. There might be costs associated with the service.

Paylocity uses Windows keys for their SSH server which might require extra work to set up depending on the OS you're using.

If you are facing issues with syncing your data from Paylocity to Culture Amp, you can view troubleshooting information we have included in our Troubleshooting integration issues guide.

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.


How do I mark employees as inactive in my SFTP file?

When removing users from the platform, you have two options: you can mark them as inactive, indicating they are former employees with an end date, or deactivate them, with no specified end date. Both options result in the user being made inactive.

Learn more about the differences between former and deactivated employees here.

Mark Users Inactive as Former Employees:

To make users inactive via SFTP as former employees:

  1. Ensure that there is an End Date column included in your user file

  2. Apply an End Date value next to the employee you are deactivating

  3. Following your update, the Culture Amp platform generally does a file sweep every 10 minutes or so and will process any file that has been picked up and process the updates to the platform.

  4. Once the import is processed, those users will show up under your Settings > Users page under the Former User list.

Mark Users Inactive as Deactivated Employees:

  1. Ensure that your SFTP file has an End Date column

  2. Under the End Date column, ensure that the value for the user you would like to deactivate is blank.

  3. Create an Employee Deactivated column in your SFTP file. Make sure that this column comes before any other custom demographics in your file.

  4. Assign TRUE as the value next to the employee/s you are deactivating.

  5. Make sure FALSE is set for any other employees.

  6. Following your update, the Culture Amp platform generally does a file sweep every 10 minutes or so and will process any file that has been picked up and process the updates to the platform.

  7. Once the import is processed, those users will show up under your Settings > Users page under the Deactivated User list.

Alternatively, you can mark users as inactive by deactivating them individually in the platform. Follow the instructions provided here.

Just make sure that once you manually deactivate these users, they are removed from any file uploads moving forward.

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