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The Quirky Workforce Trends of 2024…So Far

By Erika Willitzer with Defiance County Economic Development – Column sponsored by OhioMeansJobs of Defiance County.

The landscape of work has always been in flux, but the year 2024 has unfolded with trends that are as quirky as they are revolutionary. Creative benefits to artificial intelligence, these trends are shaping not just how businesses run, but also how they attract, retain, and engage employees.

Businesses in the U.S. are now offering benefits that would have seemed unimaginable a decade ago. Think pet insurance and a stipend for home office plants. Now I haven’t heard of any Defiance County Businesses offering a stipend for pets and plants, but I have seen where our local companies are offering creative work shifts, gym memberships, and unlimited vacation days. (Yes, it is a thing!) This shift reflects a deeper understanding of the diverse needs of today's workforce and a commitment to meeting them in novel ways.

In 2024, Defiance County Businesses have been experimenting with radical shifts such as the four-day workweek, hybrid (office time & remote), and even a “Mom Shift”, where mothers work only when their kids are in school. This level of flexibility acknowledges the varying productivity rhythms and personal responsibilities of employees, offering them greater control over their work-life balance.

Employment engagement now goes beyond the occasional team-building event or performance bonus. Organizations are curating personalized engagement plans that cater to the individual preferences and motivations of their employees. This could mean offering a subscription to a meditation app for one employee while providing another with opportunities for professional development in their field of interest. The idea is to make every employee feel seen, heard, and valued.

Artificial Intelligence in hiring isn’t new, but in 2024, its capabilities have been refined to minimize biases and streamline the recruitment process like never before. AI tools now assist in creating job descriptions that are inclusive, sifting through resumes without regard to gender or ethnicity, and even conducting initial interviews to assess skills and cultural fit objectively. If you are wondering, many Defiance County businesses are using this as a tool and loving it.

The workforce trends of 2024 are quirky, yes, but they're also a clear response to the evolving needs and values of today's workers. For business leaders, the message is clear: adaptability, creativity, and a deep commitment to understanding the human side of business are key to thriving in this new employment landscape. I like to think these are the quirkiest trends we’ll ever see, but the workforce and tech space are in a constant state of change, which means it’s only the beginning. To set up a workforce/business strategy session, please email me at

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