Manage data in 15Five using SFTP

Similar to uploading employee information via CSV or API, you can automatically manage employee data via SFTP using 15Five and your HRIS. SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol or SSH File Transfer Protocol) allows you to securely transfer data from one platform, like an HRIS, to a service provider, like 15Five.

In this article, you will learn...



SFTP is available for all 15Five customers on all plans.

SFTP Overview

If your HRIS has a built-in SFTP client, SFTP will allow you to automatically sync your data and ensure that 15Five is always up to date, without requiring manual work on your part. Additionally, you could always try setting up SFTP with a software other than a HRIS or writing your own script from scratch. Since HRIS is the most common use case, we will be focusing on that in this article.

SFTP can be used to manage fields such as reviewer name, email address, and active/inactive status, and more. Think of SFTP as an automated and regularly imported CSV.

Since SFTP is similar to a CSV import, the same column headers are available in SFTP that exist for our bulk import option. You can use either email address or employee ID as the unique identifier for employees— this option is set in your company's import settings (in-app link). Employee IDs are unique to individuals, making them a good alternative to email address as a person's unique identifier (especially if email addresses change frequently in your organization). 15Five does not set the employee_id field automatically; it's completely up to account admins at your company to populate the employee_id field in 15Five. Once the employee_id field is populated, your company can use it to identify users.

Once a connection is established between 15Five + HRIS/other software, your HRIS will automatically create a CSV using the information you selected and the cadence you selected when setting up the SFTP. That CSV will then be securely sent to 15Five. 15Five will import the data and make all updates. All CSV imports, whether manual or via SFTP, should be UTF-8 encoded.



To import information that is not included in the import column headers list, create a custom attribute and map a field in your HRIS to that custom attribute in 15Five.

Set up SFTP

Reach out to your HRIS account manager to see if you have the ability to set up SFTP. They may have to enable a setting on the backend. Aa another option, your IT or Engineering Team may be able to write a script that sends automated CSVs to 15Five’s SFTP server.

  1. Click on the Settings gear in the top, right-hand corner of 15Five.
  2. Select 'Features' from the dropdown menu.
  3. Click into the 'Integrations' section.
  4. Click Enable to the right of the SFTP option.
  5. After acknowledging the pop-up, click Enable SFTP.
  6. You'll be redirected to the 'Setup' tab. This page contains the information you will need to set up the SFTP connection within your HRIS.
  7. Completed your import. If you would like to run a test import, email We can help you run a test import to make sure the information is pulling over properly before you set the imports to be automatically run.
  8. Click into the 'Import history' to see a list of all past imports. You can also click into an import to view its details.
  9. Click into the 'Settings' tab to choose a contact person with an active 15Five account who will receive sync summary and import error emails. You can also disable the SFTP connection in this tab.

Disconnect SFTP

To disconnect SFTP, go to the 'Settings' tab of your SFTP integration page and click Disable under the Disable SFTP section.


Troubleshooting and FAQs

  • Q: What fields can we maintain via SFTP?
    A: SFTP supports the same fields as our bulk import/CSV feature. 
  • Q: Will SFTP overwrite any manual changes that I make in 15Five? For example: My reviewer in 15Five was changed from my manager listed in my HRIS to my team lead. Will it be reverted back to my manager with the next SFTP import?
    A: Yes. SFTP imports are the source of truth regarding an individual's data and will overwrite all in-app changes—just like any other provisioning method. Only SCIM has an option to ignore reviewer changes.
  • Q: How can I sync information from my HRIS to a field that does not exist in 15Five?
    A: Add a custom attribute in 15Five and then map the field in your HRIS to the custom attribute field. 
  • Q: Will people be reactivated (or deactivated) in 15Five based on the SFTP syncs?
    A: Yes. Just like a CSV import, if the person is noted as active in the file, they will be activated in 15Five. Similarly, if the person is noted as not active in the file, they will be deactivated.
  • Q: How often do imports happen via SFTP?
    A: That depends on the cadence you set up on the HRIS side. The files can be imported as often as you'd like.
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