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Foodservice giant Compass Group has launched an LGBT network to encourage diversity in the workplace.

The group, who currently employs approximately 60,000 people, has also partnered with LGBT charity Stonewall and professional network OUTstanding to further support LGBT employees.

Named LGBT & Allies, the new network was launched on 26 May with guest speakers including Jane McDonald, representatives from Diversity Jobs and finance lawyer Aritha Wickramasinghe, who was last year named as a top LGBT Future Leader.

Speakers addressed the audience about the importance of creating a working environment where all staff members can be themselves.

Compass resourcing and development director, Melanie Hayes, said: “At Compass Group UK & Ireland, we are committing to a wider diversity and inclusion strategy in a bid to support a positive working environment which is inclusive for all of our colleagues.

“Following on from the successful launch of our “Women in Food” programme, we are excited to have introduced our new LGBT & Allies network and to be partnering with a leading LGBT charity and professional network so that we lead the way in creating a diverse and inclusive workforce for all.”

Stonewall’s James Haq-Myles said: “We know that people perform better when they can be themselves, and that a diverse team produces a more creative and productive workplace environment, and so a commitment to LGBT equality also produces tangible business benefits.

“We hope that this influences other organisations within the sector to sign up to the programme and learn how they can make their organisations a better place to work.”

OUTstanding’s chief executive, Suki Sandhu, said: “We’re thrilled to welcome Compass Group as an OUTstanding member. We know that their commitment to the diversity agenda will give them a competitive advantage, they’ll attract the best talent, make better decisions, be more innovative and, crucially, improve productivity.”

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