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


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

This week, Ivan kicked things off with Bobby by discussing meetings. You either love them or you loathe them. Amazon has abolished the PowerPoint presentation this week and shared its stance on meetings. 

At Amazon, all meetings begin with attendees reading a six-page memo document prepared in place of a presentation by the organiser in silence. The reading of the document is done together in the room, akin to a study hall, so everyone actually does read it and not just try to bluff.

Bobby says the worst things meetings can be, in his opinion, is too long. He also added that the real barometer of success for a meeting is when everyone in the room has value and something to add to the meeting with an agenda set out in advance. Ivan also added that at the European Council Ministers meetings, they did a 'tour de table' where you started at one end and everyone down the line had to give their contribution on whatever was being discussed.  

Now onto your questions... 

I've been working as Sales Manager for a fashion wholesaler for a number of years and have been offered a promotion to the role of Sales Director. What, in your opinion, is the difference between a director and a manager?

Bobby says there are a few headings you need to look at this under. First of all, there are a number of fiduciary responsibilities that would fall to a director and not on a manager. 

When it comes to leadership, as a director, you would form part of the board of directors who lay out the strategy and direction of leadership for the workplace. A manager, in comparison, is the one who sees this strategy is carried through on the ground. 

Directors can also have a more direct relationship with shareholders and in general, just far more responsibility at a higher level than a manager would have.  


I'm hearing a lot about GDPR. It's new legislation and I know it's coming into effect on May 25th. I use CCTV in my business so are there any impending changes around this that I should be aware of? 


Yes, is Bobby's response here. This is very topical for businesses at the moment and it's EU law coming into Ireland. 

For CCTV specifically, you're allowed to put it into your business but you have to be able to justify it. How do you justify it, according to the new legislation? You have to weigh up the reasons for having it in place against the rights of the people who will inevitably be recorded. 

For example, if you have a theft problem in your shop and you can prove that's the case, you are within your rights to have CCTV. If it is in the store room, you have to clearly inform all staff that the CCTV is there and make it visible and if it is in your main shop where customers come in, you have to make it very clear with signage that there is CCTV in operation and they could potentially be being recorded. 

All of the information you record and store also has to be available for Garda requests and also members of the public who have been recorded have the right to request that data as well. 

Bobby will also be focusing on what you need to know about GDPR next week in his slot so be sure to tune in! 

I am about to launch my own business and am currently drafting up conditions of employment for my employees. I want to keep it simple so what's the minimum amount of information that I have to have in employee contracts?

Bobby has a handy list for this one. This is the minimum list of requirements for any employment contract: 

  • Full name and address of employee
  • Address of the business 
  • Place of work 
  • Job title 
  • Nature of work
  • Start date 
  • Reference to any collective agreements
  • Hours of work 
  • Overtime arrangement 
  • Rest periods and breaks 
  • Annual leave 
  • Rate of renumeration
  • Method of frequency of pay and how wages will be paid 
  • Pay reference period must be no longer than a month 
  • Notice periods for both parties 
  • Method of communicating any changes to terms and conditions of employment 
  • Terms and conditions relating to paid leave 

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 [email protected]

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