How to –
Data Migration into Personio

Data Migration into Personio

Tools like Personio make it easy to manage the everyday business of HR supporting processes such as recruiting, onboarding or time management. For all that to work we obviously need data. Migrating data into the system is probably the most time-consuming part of a software implementation. In this blog post we would like to share our recommendations on how to approach data migration in an efficient way.

Step 1: Assessing the status quo

Before we actually start to collect data it is important to take a step back and get an overview of the current situation. Given the scope of the implementation, which systems are you currently working with and how can you access the data? Is the data stored in one system of record or will we be using many sources? Is creating reports to obtain the data in your legacy system straight-forward or does it take time and require external support? How good is the current quality of the data and would data cleansing be needed?

It is important not only to consider the data you already have in your current system. External vendors or partners could also be relevant in gathering the needed data.

Assessing which data you will need for the implementation and how to get it makes it easier for you to organize and plan the implementation phase.

Example of things to consider while collecting data

Step 2: Mapping the data – key file template

Depending on the origin of the data (other system, excel, paper, etc.) it needs to be mapped with the structures in Personio. It is very likely that at this point you become aware of any missing data. If that’s the case now is the time to fill that gap.

Templates are a great way to address cases where you have lots of data that need to be mapped. You can create your own templates or use the one supplied by us or Personio. A good idea is to build a key file with basic employee data which will be useful as a reference for every upload. The key file can include data like email address, Personio ID, name and subcompany. Even IDs from the legacy system to speed up data matching and filtering. The advantage of a „key“ file is that it contains „key“ data which will be relevant for all uploads into Personio. Once you created this key file template, you can use it for every implementation step. Now you just need to add whatever data you want to import.

Simple exemple of a key file template.

Step 3: Uploading the data.

Using the templates from step 2, your data is now ready to be uploaded. The key takeaway here is to upload the data in every step in the implementation process and for each subcompany in scope.

Let us take the step “salaries” as an example. Once you configured this step in Personio and applied the salary components, we recommend to immediately upload the salary data. When ready, move on to the next implementation step but don’t postpone the upload for later.

Possible steps on how to upload the data

On the contrary, when it comes to managing multiple subcompanies or various locations. Here we recommend to do the implementation steps at the same time for the different subcompanies or locations in scope.

With this more agile approach and quick feedback, you can see the results early. Even if you run into issues you get plenty of time to re-align and improve. You definitely don’t want to wait to find out you have inconsistencies in the processes and workflows just before your Go-Live.


In conclusion, while preparing and executing data migration – start slow to go fast afterwards. Spending time in taking the stock of your data will give you confidence in the plan and help anticipate effort drivers. Use mapping templates to smoothen the processes. Be diligent with configuration and implementation steps, importing the templates as you go and for all entities in scope. This will provide you with good visibility into the status of data migration and will spare you potential frustration afterwards.

Data migration is a complex and time consuming exercise. But if you follow those simple recommendations above, chances are you will be enjoying your new Personio system on time.

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