They used to be advocates for the employee. What I meant was there job should be to help with questions about benefits, someone the employee can talk to in confidence knowing that it won't make it to the floor, help with FLMA questions etc. Employees don't work with HR things daily so are not up on all benefits, contacts etc. Our HR hands you a telephone # and walks away. Sure they work for the store but as the title says they are "Human Resources"--a resource for the people, not just the ASM or SM.HR managers aren't employee advocates. They work for the company to enhance and protect the store. Should they be knowledgeable and professional and willing to assist in explaining HR policy, benefits, etc. to employees? Of course.
Individual stores should have HR managers on premises based on their size. My uneducated guess regarding a Lowe's store would about 75-100 and up.
If you have worked in Mfg all your life and not retail you don't understand how it is different. I didn't either until I joined Lowes.