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How to Troubleshoot Common User Import Errors
How to Troubleshoot Common User Import Errors

Guidance on how to troubleshoot and resolve common user import errors

Jessie Walsh avatar
Written by Jessie Walsh
Updated over a week ago

What can I learn from this page?

How to troubleshoot and resolve common user import errors

Who is this page for?

Account Admin

Is your import blocked or are you wondering why some of your data is being ignored? In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps to diagnose and resolve common import errors to get you back on track. For more precise guidance on hierarchy, HRIS integration, and SFTP-related errors, we offer support materials tailored to each area.

HRIS Integration: If you're using an HRIS integration, there might be specialized solutions given your setup. If you get stuck, check out the troubleshooting section in your HRIS guide for personalized tips.

Hierarchy errors: For any hierarchy errors such as your import being blocked because there are employees assigned to managers that are not in your employee list, check out our dedicated support guide on troubleshooting those.

SFTP: Having trouble with an SFTP connection? Dive into our troubleshooting guide for further help.

Step 1: Checking your Import History

To understand why your import failed or if some data was ignored, begin by accessing your Import History page, located under Settings.

Each Import Status is color-coded for clarity:

  • Green: Import successful with no errors in your file.

  • Yellow: Successful import, but some errors were detected and these data changes were ignored in the uploaded file.

  • Red: Import unsuccessful; your file couldn't be processed. Errors must be resolved in your file before data can be processed on the platform.

To review errors, click View next to the import where issues were identified.

Step 2: Review the Errors

On the import summary page, click on the flagged tiles (any with an exclamation mark) to view associated errors and resolve them using the troubleshooting instructions below. Depending on your data, you may need to repeat this troubleshooting process several times until validation passes.

Troubleshooting Common Import Errors

"Email Addresses must be unique"


  1. Find the duplicate user profile in the platform that has the same ID as the one on your file.

  2. Decide where the ID belongs:

    1. Keep ID on existing profile

    2. Transfer ID to imported user

  3. If you choose Option 2b. and the platform profile is inactive, reactivate the profile and remove the Employee ID.

  4. After removing the duplicate ID, assign the profile a unique dummy ID

  5. Deactivate the profile.

  6. Re-import the file to resolve the error.

Explanation: Unique identifiers (Email and Employee IDs) can only be assigned to one user in the platform, whether they are active or inactive. This error occurs when you are attempting to assign the same Email or Employee ID to multiple users.

In the example below, we'll investigate the steps to address a situation where the Employee ID you're trying to assign to a user in your import file is already associated with another user profile on the platform.

Step 1: Find the Duplicate User

  • Go to your Settings > Users page. This shows your Active User list.

  • Copy the Employee ID flagged in the error from your Import History page in the search field.

  • If you can't find the user with that ID in the Active List, check the Inactive Users.

Step 2: Decide Where the ID Belongs

  • Once you find the user profile with the same Employee ID, decide whether to keep it on the existing profile or assign it to the user in your import file.

  • Option A: Keep ID on Existing Profile

    • If you want to keep the ID on the existing profile, give the user in your import file a different and unique Employee ID.

  • Option B: Transfer ID to Import User

    • To transfer the ID to the user in your import file:

      • Click on the user profile in the platform from your Settings > Users list.

      • Remove the Employee ID and leave it blank (if this profile already has an email).

      • Click Save and Exit.

      • If the profile only has an Employee ID (no email), remove the existing ID and assign a new, unused "dummy" Employee ID instead. This dummy ID can be anything unique that's not used by any other user, active or inactive.

      • Click Save and Exit.

This process will free up the ID for the user on your import file.

Step 3: Reactivate the Profile (If It's Inactive)

  • If the profile in the system is inactive, you'll need to reactivate it first before removing the Employee ID.

  • After reactivation, work through Step 2: Option B.

  • Deactivate the profile again.

Step 4: Re-import your user file to resolve the error.

This process helps you ensure that each Email and Employee ID is unique and correctly assigned to the one user profile.

πŸ’‘ Tip: If you have tried the above steps and aren't having much luck, check your file to see if the ID has been assigned to two separate users in the import file itself.

"Employees must have a name"


  1. Check your file and ensure you have a column titled 'Name' (no other variation).

  2. Ensure that every employee has a Name value assigned under this column.

​Explanation: The employees were excluded from your data import because they were not given a name value under a column titled 'Name'. The Name column is mandatory and cannot be titled as any other variation e.g. Full Name, Employee Name, etc. Every user in your file must have a Name value assigned before this error will resolve.

"Empty Demographics"

FIX: In your upload file, find the demographic flagged in this error and ensure that at least one user has a value assigned under this demographic.

Explanation: Demographics can only be created during a user import when there is at least one user in your file with a value assigned under that demographic. If you're not ready to assign users to a demographic value, you can manually create the demographic from your Account Demographics page instead.

"Unexpected Error: E69433878 Contact Support"

FIX: To resolve this issue, choose one of these steps:

  1. Use a different email address for the user

  2. Contact Culture Amp Support via email at or ask to speak with a support specialist during your live chat to share the flagged user's email(s) with the team. If the emails belong to inactive users, they may be able to assist in freeing up the emails.

  3. Have the user contact an Account Admin for the conflicting account to remove their email. If the user can't reach the Admin, they can email for assistance.

Explanation: This error indicates that the email address you're trying to add is already associated to a user profile with a different Culture Amp client (separate from your own company account). Email addresses can only be used once in the platform.

"Employee ID or Email Address Needed"

FIX: Ensure that your user file includes both an Email and Employee ID column and that every user in the file has either an Email or Employee ID value assigned.

Explanation: Every user in your file must have either an Email or Employee ID value assigned to their profile. Ensure that the column headers in your file also match the column name exactly so the data can be read properly e.g. Email versus' Email Address. Refer to our template guidelines for more information.

"Dates must be formatted the same"


  1. Import date values in one of our expected formats.

  2. The chosen format should be consistent for all date columns (Date of Birth, Start Date, and End Date).

Explanation: Culture Amp stores dates in the format mmm dd, yyyy. Import dates in this format or in the alternative acceptable formats MMM DD YYYY or YYYY-MM-DD. Refer to the instructions for customizing the date in Excel and Google Sheets.

"Birth dates must be before start dates"


  1. Review the date you have entered in the Date of Birth and Start Date fields for the user/s flagged under this error.

  2. Update the date to ensure that the Date of Birth is before the listed Start Date.

Explanation: Employees will be excluded from your data import because their start dates came before their birth dates. To add these employees you must amend their start dates and birth dates to be in chronological order.

"Birth date is too recent"


  1. Review the date you have entered in the Date of Birth column for the user/s flagged under this error.

  2. Correct the year listed.

Explanation: Employees will be excluded from your data import because the platform has recognized that the listed year for the birth date is too recent. Review your file and double-check that those employees have the correct date (specifically year) listed.

"Start dates must be before end dates"


  1. Review the Start Date and End Date values for the User/s flagged under this error.

  2. Amend the Start Date listed so it comes before the End Date.

  3. Alternatively remove the End Date value to reactivate their profile.

Explanation: Start dates must be before end dates. Amend the start dates and end dates to be in chronological order. If the employee should be active (e.g. they may be returning from leave) remove their End Date value to override this error and reactivate their profile during the import.

"You cannot remove yourself"


  1. Review your import file.

  2. Uploading via a full import? Add your Employee Information to the file.

Explanation: This error can occur when you upload a file using the full import option and your employee details are not included on the file. Full imports can overwrite platform data, meaning any employee not present in your file will be marked inactive. For this reason, it's important to ensure that your employee information is retained within the uploaded file. If you need to remove your information, please request another admin user to deactivate your profile, as self-deactivation is not possible during the full import process.

"Column needs a header"


  1. Check your file for the column flagged with this error.

  2. Assign a column header.

  3. Alternatively, delete the column to remove the associated data.

Explanation: The platform has picked up that there is a column present in your file with data in the cells but no header. Review the column flagged in your file and either assign a column header or delete the column itself to remove any associated data.

"Duplicate column"


  1. Review Your import file.

  2. Remove any duplicate columns (any with the same demographic header).

  3. Alternatively, rename the duplicate column.

Explanation: The platform has picked up that there is a duplicate demographic in your spreadsheet. The same column header can only appear once in your file. Review your file and remove the duplicate or rename the column.

"Your file contains multiple sheets"


  1. Review your import file.

  2. Remove any extra sheets/tabs in your file.

  3. Import your updated file.

Explanation: The platform has picked up that the file you are uploading contains multiple sheets. Remove any extra sheets/tabs in the file itself and run the upload again.

"We couldn't save your progress: status code 502"


  • Review your import file:

  • Check for common issues:

    • Verify that your file has no:

      • Inconsistent or incorrect date formats.

      • Inaccurate column names as per the template guidelines.

      • Duplicate columns with the same name.

  • Copy the data to new spreadsheet

    • Highlight the cells with data and paste into a NEW spreadsheet file using the Paste Special > Values & Number formatting only

  • Save the file as a CSV:

    • After confirming the alignment with guidelines, save the file in CSV format.

Explanation: A 502 bad gateway message signifies that one server received an invalid response from another, indicating an issue in the page-loading process.

To troubleshoot, consider the following steps:

  1. Switch browsers, with a recommendation for Google Chrome or Firefox.

  2. Clear cookies and cache - In Chrome:

    1. Open Chrome on your computer.

    2. Click on More at the top right.

    3. Navigate to More tools and select Clear browsing data.

    4. Choose a time range (e.g., All time).

    5. Check the boxes next to "Cookies and other site data" and "Cached images and files."

    6. Click Clear data.

  3. Check that your file aligns with our employee data template guidelines. Some common things to check:

    1. Date Format: Are the dates formatted consistently and correctly?

    2. Column Naming: Are the columns named accurately as per the guidelines?

    3. Column Duplication: Have you included two columns with the same name

  4. Manually highlight only the cells with data in your file (avoiding the use of the command A/Ctrl A functionality to copy the entire spreadsheet). Paste this data into a NEW spreadsheet file using the Paste Special > Values & Number formatting only option and save it as a CSV. Following these steps, proceed with the upload via partial import.

We hope these steps help you to resolve any errors with your upload. If you are still having trouble, contact our Culture Amp Support team via email at or ask to speak with a support specialist during your live chat conversation. From there they can help work through any issues with you directly.

See also:

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