Mission, ethos, core values--however you choose to label it, the why of starting a business is just as important as the what, especially to prospective employees.

A mission statement informs the public of your organization's reason for being. But these few sentences also need to be powerful enough to catch the attention of potential job applicants.

To attract the right talent, your mission needs to transcend the banal 9-to-5 "jobspeak" and instead tap into applicants' emotional cores, explaining how they'll be contributing to the greater good.

Read on to learn how the importance of your mission translates to bringing in more applicants and how to hire people whose values align with yours.

A new generation of workers

Before we dive in, it's important to note the realities of the evolving workforce. Workers no longer view jobs as a means to an end. Instead of just moving the needle, they want to feel like they're making a difference, and one way they achieve this is by working for a company that aligns with a social cause.

These altruistic ambitions benefit the company, too. Workers who believe in an organization's purpose are more likely to be engaged and collaborative, which can directly affect the organization's productivity, profitability, and growth. Major brands like General Electric and Johnson & Johnson have worked social causes into their missions, while companies like Toms were born from the desire to help global grassroots campaigns like the Covid-19 Giving Fund and Black Lives Matter.

Take these societal shifts into account when envisioning not only your mission but also the culture you want to create.

Start with a statement

When reflecting on the company's mission as it relates to future hires, ask yourself the following:

  • What types of applicants are we trying to attract?
  • What values do we want our workers to share with us?
  • Where do we see the organization going in the future?
  • How can our mission appeal to a wide audience while also targeting a like-minded pool of applicants?
  • How does our mission relate to our product and our overall values and goals?

The answers to these questions will help you draw connections between your mission and your desired applicant profile.

Niche mission, broad appeal

Your mission may end up being slightly narrower, but it still needs to have far-reaching relatability in order to attract more applicants. The key is to find the right niche-to-universality ratio.

Of course, you'll want to attract applicants who support the organization's vision and who will bring passion-driven enthusiasm to their day-to-day duties, but you also want your mission to be broad enough to appeal to those with different viewpoints. These candidates are just as valuable and can help you build a well-rounded, profitable company.

According to a study, companies with diverse staff are 70 percent more likely to reach new markets and rake in revenue that is 19 percent higher than companies that have a more monolithic staff.

Look beyond the hard skills

Even if an applicant's experience doesn't mirror the job description, eager employees who are enthusiastic about your mission bring a unique energy and sometimes a different point of view to their new teams. Make it clear in your job description that even those with differing job experience and skills should apply.

Applicants who align with the mission and vision of your organization are more likely to feel passionate about what they do, and therefore make more productive and more engaged workers compared with those who are just there for the paycheck. A study from Oxford University's Saïd School of Business revealed workers who reported feeling happy at their jobs were 13 percent more productive.

Passionate employees also feel more satisfied at work, which can lead to lower rates of absenteeism. A paper by Michael F. Steger, a Colorado State University psychology professor, revealed that employees who felt their jobs were meaningful were less likely to be absent from work.

Mission: Possible

Your job description may be an applicant's first exposure to your company, so it's your shot to impress and inspire them to want to learn more and eventually join your team.

Mince and repurpose pieces of your mission statement and add these bits to your job descriptions. Explore how each position can fulfill the greater mission of the company and make this explicit on the job post. From this, applicants can get an idea of how they'll be contributing to the overarching cause.

An entrepreneur's to-do list is an endless stream of tasks like the above, but managing these on the front end will help ensure you build a team that's in it for the long haul.