SME Agony Uncle: Bobby Kerr answers all your business and work-related questions

Join Bobby on The Hard Shoulder every Tuesday, with thanks to Energia

Each week broadcaster, entrepreneur and agony uncle Bobby Kerr joins The Hard Shoulder to answer all your employment-related questions.

This week, Bobby and Ivan kicked things off by discussing how half of all employees now reportedly leave a role within twelve months because the job doesn't match their expectations, according to a survey by Hayes Recruitment. 

Bobby says this is to nobody's benefit and an expensive issue for employers to deal with. He offered some advice for employers who might be facing this problem:

Take note of your company's reputation in the marketplace. Do you reply when people email about jobs or have a clear application process? 

Spend time on job specifications and make sure it's honest. 

Once the employee starts, you should be checking in with them regularly on job spec versus what they are doing. 

Now onto your questions... 

My office is sweltering in this weather. What is the allowable maximum temperature for offices or workspaces? 

Bobby has done some research and says there is no maximum temperature prescribed under Irish law. That being said, under the Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act of 2005, it says your employer has to ensure safety, health and welfare at work.

As an employer, if someone complains about it being too hot in the office, you need to respond firstly. Window blinds and portable fans are something that could be introduced to help. 

Bobby says that he contacted the Health and Safety Authority about this and found that when there was last a heatwave in 2013, they stated that staff were to be reminded that where there is air conditioning available, they will not properly function where doors and windows are left open and added that staff should be advised to drink extra water. 

I am a landscape gardener and I employ three people. Business is out the door at the moment but I just can't get staff. Any suggestions? I am desperate.

Bobby says he had some landscape gardeners on Down To Business last weekend who are in the same position and overrun with work. He advises this person to stand back and ask themselves two questions - am I doing the best job that I can to let people know I'm looking for staff? And is the offer in line with the market or even better? 

If the answer to both of these is yes then the staff should come. Ivan also suggested potentially looking at an agency to employ people who are currently unemployed. 

I am very concerned about the effect the current weather is having on my farm, which is also an SME. The grass is burned and unless we get rainfall soon, there will be a cash crisis in my business in the autumn. If this was your business, what would you be doing?

Bobby says that since he isn't a farmer himself, he can offer the Kilkenny man's urban solution here... He has checked the weather forecast and it is promised to be warm again next week but he turned to a friend who is a farmer for the best advice and was advised that while it has been detrimental so far, it is still only mid-late June so there is another four months of growing to be done yet. 

Ivan was able to offer his advice on this one, however, and suggests this farmer considers feeding concentrates and not to let the cows graze on grassland you had set aside for hay or silage because that will ultimately lead to a crisis in the autumn. 

You can listen back to all of Bobby’s employment advice from Tuesday’s The Hard Shoulder here:

If you have a business or SME related query you would like answered - you can get in touch with Bobby each week by simply sending a short mail to