How to Send HRIS Data from TriNet via SFTP

How to send HRIS data from TriNet 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 TriNet via SFTP

Who is this guide for?

Account Admins

Note: this guide covers how you can send your HRIS data from TriNet 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.


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).

You can use the integration to automate updates to the demographics outlined in Step 1 and from time to time upload additional demographics (e.g. diversity & inclusion demographics for understanding engagement results) via 'Import users'.

Setting up an SFTP integration may require assistance from TriNet. To request their help, you can create a support request in the TriNet platform (Support -> Contact TriNet -> Add Request). We've provided detailed technical instructions that you can provide to them during the setup process.

Before you start setting up the integration, ensure that you have access to the following accounts:

  • TriNet account with Workforce Analytics Administrator access

  • Culture Amp account with Account Administrator access

Step 1: Create a Custom Report in Your HRIS

Create a report that contains all the employees and demographics you want to import into Culture Amp. TriNet has created a template that already contains mandatory and recommended fields from our Employee Data File Template. To access it, log into your TriNet account and navigate to Reports > Workforce Analytics > Community Templates > Culture Amp Export.

A few recommendations:

  • You can edit the template to include or exclude some demographics or change names with which demographics will be sent to Culture Amp.

  • If you have existing data in the Culture Amp platform, it is best to edit the TriNet report to match demographic names already used in Culture Amp. This will allow you to trend results in surveys for demographic groups over time.

  • If you plan to create a hierarchy, or already have a hierarchy enabled, make sure that you have Manager Email demographic included in the report.

  • By default all employees (including terminated) will be included. If you want to exclude some employees, click Manage Filters on the report and add your rules.

Step 2: Connect Your SFTP Client with Culture Amp

To continue the set up in TriNet, click Schedule report -> Use SFTP. After that, select csv as file format and enable SSH Authentication.

TriNet will require the following information to set a connection. This information can be found in Culture Amp (Settings > Data Integrations > TriNet):

  • Host/Hostname: Can be found Culture Amp

  • Username: Can be found Culture Amp

  • Port: 22

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.

After you fill in that information in TriNet, click Download Key to download the public key. Open the file with a Notepad or a similar application and copy the entire content of the file, including the rss header, to the Public SSH key field on Culture Amp’s integration page you have just opened.

As the last step, add in Culture Amp the contact person to notify about any integration errors and click Save settings.

If you want to test your SFTP connection after copying the public key from TriNet to Culture Amp, you can click Test on the Schedule Report page in TriNet.

Step 3: Set Report Frequency

Now you can Set Frequency for this report on the Schedule Report page in TriNet. Reports will be created and sent to Culture Amp based on this schedule.

Common Errors

'Duplicate employee IDs' error when using the TriNet integration

If you have switched to TriNet from a different HRIS and still have data from your previous HRIS in Culture Amp, you may experience a 'duplicate employee IDs' error when uploading data from TriNet. The common root cause is that the same Employee ID may be assigned to two different users in TriNet and your previous HRIS.

To correct the error:

  1. Go to Users page in Culture Amp

  2. Click 'Export Users' and export all users, including inactive users.

  3. In the export of your user file remove values for 'Employee ID' but keep the column header

  4. Save the document and go back to the Users page and do a partial import with that file.

These steps will erase the Employee IDs from your previous HRIS and should stop the 'duplicate employee IDs' error from occurring when you next sync your SFTP.

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 Integration Issues

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

Need further help? Contact our Culture Amp Support team via email: or ask to speak with a support specialist during your live chat conversation.

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