Over the weekend I went to Best Buy with my parents to help them select a new HDTV for the family room. They finally saw the light, or, more accurately, realized they couldn’t see the light anymore. Bottom line: it was time to replace the 25” Zenith that had been there since Jimmy Carter was President.
The shopping experience was a bit of an ordeal. Despite the fact that my father had spent his career writing and producing sitcoms, HDTV still seems new and strange to him. They knew today’s TVs have bigger more clear pictures, but they weren’t aware of how poor the speakers can be, and that coaxial cables were now an artifact of history, much like the pager. HDMI cables are a complete mystery to them.
In the end I helped them through the process and someone from the Geek Squad will be installing their new TV next week and moving the massive old Zenith into a guest room. I try to be a good son, but I’m not good enough to lift that old TV.
The whole purchase process was a good reminder to all of us that the technology we take for granted is still going to be fairly new and alien to older workers. An online helpline may be great for a Millennial who views his or her cell phone primarily as a texting machine, only secondarily as a way to talk to people. But for an older worker, nothing may beat having a live human to talk to, or even better, a person to talk with face to face.
So before you roll out any new technology, be sure it makes sense for your entire workforce, even the ones who still haven’t fully switched to HDTV.
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