New Haven business leaders network at ‘The Big Connect’

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Businesses from all over the New Haven area are getting together for ‘The Big Connect’ on Thursday. It involves business leaders helping each other navigate what has become the “new normal.”

“Isn’t it great to be here in person,” asked Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, kicking off the event.

The Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce is helping businesses to network in person again this year. While the event may be back to normal, businesses definitely are not.

“That really is the theme of this event, finding you’re groove in a new era,” explained Garret Sheehan, President, and CEO of the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce. “What we’re talking about is, things have changed. It hadn’t gone back to what normal was. So how do you settle in and make sure your business is successful?”

Especially if you’re a new business. Action movie star Michael Jai White, who played Spawn, is opening up Jaigangtic Studios in New Haven.

“The idea of bringing this industry back,” said White, “the idea of trying to shoot a here was always in my mind.”

While these businesses are getting together, networking, and talking, there is one thing they are talking about more than anything, and that is how difficult it is to find workers.

“We’re having the same problems across the board in all different types of positions, especially in the service industry, getting people into those jobs,” Sheehan said.

“People can go to a lot of different employers and they’re offering $2,000, $3,000, and $5,000 sign-on bonuses, and I think that’s a big factor,” said David O’Brien, president of WorkChoice Solutions. He sees clients changing their approach because of the labor shortage.

“I think it’s become so competitive that it’s part of the organizational strategy. Part of the executive strategy. How do we attract and train them,” said O’Brien?

So now connecting with employees is as important as connecting with customers and peers at the Big Connect.

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