There is more to relocating people to Macau than moving furniture and household effects. Helping clients to adjust to the life and working culture in the city ensures that they settle in happily. 'The cost to a company of a failed relocation is significantly expensive,' explained Sherry Liu, general manager for Crown Relocations, Hong Kong and Macau. 'Companies can minimise potential difficulties for employees by providing an understanding of how they can navigate cultural differences. 'In Macau, an expatriate will be working side by side with Macanese, Chinese, Filipinos, Australians, and many people from other diverse cultural backgrounds.' Crown works closely with client companies, most notably hotels, to set up a programme of seminars, part of a full range of services offered to expatriates. 'The programme explores differing eastern and western values, beliefs and behaviour, and their impact on cross-cultural communication, commitment and trust,' she said. The programme is designed to help transferees and their families cope with key cultural challenges. In the course, managers learn such things as influencing and persuading, structuring information, and managing conflicts through e-mail and telephone communication. 'The objective is to ensure clients excel across borders, so the key is being aware of cultural differences,' she said. 'It is about establishing credibility, building trust, being adaptable and not stereotyping colleagues. 'People have to switch their styles to adapt to new working environments abroad. The more you know about various cultures, the easier it is to adapt to them. 'In the United States, for example, quality is all important. But in Asia, issues of hierarchy can be more critical. Germans may be used to hearing direct answers to questions, but in many Asian cultures people find it difficult to say 'no', or express how they feel. When expatriates are familiar with these differences, they are less likely to get upset or feel as if they've been personally affronted.' Crown also extends its expertise to human resources professionals in various industries in Hong Kong and Macau, with seminars hosted by an experienced 'intercultural trainer'. These seminars provide 'a framework for understanding cultural competencies at both individual and organisational levels'. 'When issues were discussed, some HR professionals realised they did not realise how potential problems could arise. They gain a deeper understanding when we explain how we help individual clients. As a result, the HR departments often refer to us when they require relocation services,' she said.