Andy Shrimpton believes Cycle Heaven of York is the first bike shop to achieve the government-sponsored Investors In People Standard.

Shrimpton in second heaven as his shop gains training standard

Investors In People is an award that recognises employers which train and look after their employees.

Cycle Heaven, which employs 11 people in its York store, is well known in the area for its community involvement, including sponsorship of York’s cycle paramedics as well as its Schools Cycle Challenge – where it has offered a free bike to any school that meets the cycling and walking objectives of its travel plan.

The Investors In People award, however, recognises the progress that the firm has made with its internal development.

The assessors praised the “vibrant” culture of the company, and flagged the “openness, transparency and passion for cycling.”

They also said that the systems and practices operated by Cycle Heaven “would be a credit to a large company.”

MD Andy Shrimpton said: “Everything in our business is about the quality of the relationships that you develop – with your customers, your suppliers and your community; but it must start at home – with your staff. They are the company, they are what make us Cycle Heaven.”

Cycle Heaven – the shop with a trumpeting cherub on its logo – was founded in 1993 by Shrimpton, who is also a director of the Association of Cycle Traders.

As well as making sure every full time member of staff has achieved some level of Cytech accreditation, he pratices what he preraches: in 2001 he began studying for an MBA at the University of Leeds Business School.

“Our company has moved through a number of stages. In the early days it’s just you, the product and the customer. We all love our bikes, so you tend to get obsessed with all the technical stuff. As we grew, I began to realise that I had an organisation on my hands, which meant I had to manage people rather than play with bikes. Now I’m happy to admit that that was a bit of a challenge, so I decided to go back to school.”

Shrimpton has used his studies to review every aspect of the business operations, including an overhaul of his ‘human resources’ process.

Investors In People assessors were particularly impressed by Cycle Heaven’s use of personal development plans for its staff, a process that begins pre-recruitment and runs right through to an ‘exit plan’.

“We can’t exactly offer the best salaries in the cycle trade, so I think that we owe it to our staff to take their personal development very seriously," said Shimpton.

"I would like to believe that people who pass through this firm will leave with their stock of knowledge and experience considerably enhanced – not just about the product, but about processes, teamwork and about management.”

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