In 2021, nearly 47.4 million workers voluntarily quit their jobs, with a record 4.5 million calling it quits in November 2021 alone. BloomTech

The two years since the pandemic began have given us all plenty of time to reevaluate and reprioritize. Some people purged clothes and reorganized closets. Likewise, many people took a hard look at their careers and realized something needed to change. While some career moves were based on the impact of the global health crisis -- supporting kids in remote learning or caring for family members, among other reasons -- some people took the opportunity to leap into the next chapter of work.

The "Great Resignation" is shorthand for today's volatile climate where people have left the workforce in droves. In 2021, nearly 47.4 million workers voluntarily quit their jobs, with a record 4.5 million calling it quits in November 2021 alone. In February 2022, 4.4 million workers left their jobs, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

The Great Resignation is far from over. Research from the job platform Monster shows that more than 20% of workers are considering a career change.

Companies once held the shiny keys, but now workers are calling the shots. This has caused a ripple effect on the overall labor market. Nearly 7 in 10 companies worldwide struggle to fill vacancies, according to a 2021 Manpower Group report, and shortages are painful. The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta estimates that the difficulty of finding the right talent to fill roles reduces U.S. businesses' sales by $738 billion every year.

From fledgling startups to enterprises, companies that want to hire and retain talent in today's work environment must adjust to meet the new mindset of today's worker. If organizations are unwilling to make the necessary changes, it's likely they won't be around long enough to course correct.

Below are a few key changes to traditional approaches to stay relevant and competitive in today's market.

Drop the antiquated hiring practices

By now, the Great Resignation phenomenon is familiar to just about everyone who watches the news (or their Instagram feed). Workers who hear about others quitting for greener pastures are reevaluating their own jobs. In many cases, they're finding their roles wanting.

According to a new study from Pew Research, many of those who quit their jobs in 2021 stated that they left because of low pay (63%), lack of advancement opportunities (63%) or feeling disrespected at work (57%).

These valid employment grievances are nothing new. What is new is the shift in power in the employer-employee dynamic.

A massive talent shortage in the U.S. means workers find themselves in high demand. The increased pressure to hire hire hire has exposed just how antiquated current company hiring practices are. Gone are the days when job applicants are content to endure months-long interview processes, patiently await responses from MIA hiring managers, and contort themselves to fit the checkboxes of job listings -- without employer efforts to meet their needs in turn.

To be successful today, companies need to rethink their hiring strategies. Recruiters and hiring managers who continue to struggle to fill open roles -- in spite of having access to a larger, geography-independent talent pool -- need a different approach.

Organizations relying primarily on résumés, old-school interviews, job postings and other traditional hiring practices, especially for technical roles, will cripple their chances of long-term success.

Looking for a better alternative? The success stories I see are from organizations testing out expediting the hiring process, being extremely responsive to potential employees, expanding where they look for talent, and trial-to-hire formats. For example, Stripe has recognized that asking applicants to dedicate hours to interviews and code challenges isn't always the best way to gauge good fit -- and attract the right people. So, they've experimented with hiring applicants for a day's work. They get a better sense of how an applicant would contribute to the team, and applicants feel valued in a concrete way. It's a win-win.

Go beyond traditional talent pipelines to build a diverse workforce

This is the moment to build strong diversity and inclusion strategies. Because finding talent is no longer limited to geographical locations or traditional experience and education paths, it means organizations have even more potential to build the strong, diverse workforce they've tried to cultivate for years. New pathways have opened up that simply didn't exist previously, when companies were limited to applicants within commuting distance or who could address a narrowly defined job description.

Unlocking access to a broader talent pool is a must for gaining a competitive edge. Prioritizing diversity and inclusion makes organizations more competitive, as research consistently shows. Emphasizing diversity in hiring will also help you stand out to applicants.

Even prior to the pandemic, a survey found that 56% of younger workers preferred to work for a company that had a strong workplace culture over a high paycheck. Companies that implement and embrace DEI commitments across their organization strengthen workplace culture, which in turn can help attract and retain top talent.

Ultimately, DEI efforts will power your company through the Great Resignation and beyond.

Enable workers to get the job they want

Companies will also need to recognize that the traditional path of four-year degree to internship to first job no longer works for many people, and it never worked for still more. Organizations that fail to recognize this will miss out on talent, fresh perspectives and opportunities for innovation.

The Great Resignation is magnifying a trend where workers at all stages are tapping their inner entrepreneur, taking charge of their own career destiny and becoming hyper-goal-oriented -- rather than feeling compelled to take the old-school, "right" route to a well-paying job. Whether you are a younger person looking for a first job, a parent re-entering the workforce after time off raising children, or someone ready for career change, today's mindset frees up more options than ever.

I think of it as a "choose your own adventure" scenario where workers can match their goals to a wider range of options, whether those include education, professional development, apprenticeships, coaching or more. What's more, this flexibility means it's never too late to adjust. Mid-career workers or adults returning to the workforce aren't "behind"; they can adjust their career path at any point.

That's good news for the many workers who hit a plateau. Feeling stuck in a position that fails to meet their needs (e.g., inflexible schedules, stagnant compensation or a lack of growth opportunities) leads to dissatisfaction and resignation.

Today's circumstances -- a combination of disruption from the pandemic and new ways of working, learning and job searching -- mean workers have options. They are able to customize their own next steps in a manner that's never been possible before. They can ensure that their skills, training and education map to their goals and career wants, which is a win for them and for the companies that hire them.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the worker's journey and priorities have continued to evolve. If companies want to succeed in this next era of work, they must evolve as well. It's time to rethink diversity and hiring strategies to relate and appeal to workers' new mindsets.

Austen Allred is the co-founder and CEO of Bloom Institute of Technology (BloomTech).