It may be true also. People understand from our actions not by what we think of them. It must be brought in the knowledge of employees that HR is for them, to support them.
I would suggest you to come up with employee friendly policies and start some good HR practices so employees feel confident about HR. Do remember to present HR as a friend to every employee in your Organisation.
Employees do not have the impression that HR wants to be their boss, they think HR is the obstacle in their work ways. This is generally portrayed as, ‘management gives opportunities' & ‘HR gives rules'.
HR should survey, up to what extent their employees think that the rules are hindering with their opportunities.
It should be understood by employees that HR are also employees. This can be done through the employee oriented HR policies. Six sigma type of productivity improvement processes emphasis on employee participation in the suggestions to correct/upgrade policies & processes.
You have to check how much employee contribution is really present in your policies. (e.g.: A food committee comprising of only employees, who bring their own Tiffin. This will always raise questions on their dedication towards canteen food quality assurance).
Likewise, it should be understood by HR that other employees are also their peers & there should be transparent communication & understanding between both parties. Sometimes, the HR policies really 'dictate' dumb rules, as HR accepts them as ‘helpless subordinates’ of management.
They say a king is as good as his council. I think same goes for Management & HR. The HR as council has to be wise, & ethical, & smart, & sometimes very candid. If not, you can find many cases, where companies become "penny wise & pound foolish". (E.g.: Company is trying to save little cost on a cheap vendor, who provides unsatosfactory service to employees, which in turn increases dissatisfaction & loss through productivity).
Though, the difference between HR employees & other employees is, that other employees do not really (officially) have to think of rest of the employees, but HR do. That is why the employees in HR has to be more sensitive towards this matter, Even though other employees do not show this sensitivity. This lack of higher sensitivity & a feeling that “Employees do not like HR” only pushes them more apart.
It can be done effectively only by HR, to bridge this gap & bring employee confidence.
I understand that many a times, HR is seen as a villian. One needs to understand from HR perspective too. For HR all employees are equal and no body is special. A privilege cannot be give to one employee and denied to other. I also understand that HR needs to be sensitive to employee needs and should always be flexible without crossing permissible limits.
For such thing to happen, Management should hire a matured and seasoned HR professional and invest in talent development opportunities. HR leader is sandwiched between employees and Management.