One way to categorise HR KPIs is by determining whether they are lagging or leading. This distinction has nothing to do with how well the goals are progressing, but instead describes what kinds of initiatives, causes or situations the KPI is measuring: past or future. Lagging KPIs relate to past outcomes and actual performance, while leading KPIs are relevant to future events and are used to predict and influence changes before they occur.
For example, turnover rate would be considered a lagging KPI because it describes the actual, current state of the company but does not suggest any opportunities to change that state. On the other hand, employee productivity is an example of a leading KPI in HR, because it can be used to forecast future labour costs.
Both lagging and leading KPIs are essential to monitoring and promoting progress towards HR-relevant goals.