When I offer hirelings to the PCs, they're generally individuals. They have unique stats (even if they're fairly cookie-cutter template based), they have unique quirks, "carefully" chosen minis*, and odd names. I take my naming cues from Monty Python, Glen Cook, and Japanese video games.
I do this for all sorts of good reasons.
I wonder, though, if that has consequences for how much risk people will put NPCs into. It's harder to risk the death of Ken Shabby, Lucky Pete, Basher the Thug, and the Meeposian Brothers than it is to risk the death of Spearman #1 - #12 and we'll name them later if they survive and do well.
Psychologically it's just easier to accept losses if those losses are impersonal and remote. Although I've done a lot of the above because I want to make it harder to accept losses and to treat NPCs like human mind detectors and meat shields ("Send in a hireling to pull the lever" is trickier when it's Gort, your humorous buddy.) But I may have gone a bit too far on that.
If I generally didn't give names out for NPCs, maybe even just used numbered counters instead, would they be treated differently? Would it affect how the players interact with them?
I may need to do this - offer up general, generic, nameless troops of recruited men and women, and see if the PCs handle that differently than risking certain death for Larry the Crossbowman.
* Often from the non-small Dell'Orto Painted Pirate Collection. Foundry and Eureka Pirates makes especially oddball hirelings. Not Oddball-oddball, but certainly "those guys Jack Sparrow brought along as his crew" oddball. Mr. Cotton's Parrot, same question.