Why We Made March Madness An Official Company Holiday

I’m a graduate of the University of Kentucky, which, if you aren’t aware, is the winning-est college basketball team of all time. Basketball is a religion at U.K. And since there are no professional sports teams in Kentucky, college basketball is everything. So my favorite time of year has always been the first two days of the NCAA basketball tournament. On those days, games start at noon and, depending on the schedule and how many go to overtime, usually go on for 10-12 hours.

For most of my career, I took those first two days as vacation days, so I could sit and watch games all day. Then in 2009, when I started my last company, I decided that I would just make those two days official company holidays. The decision, which I continued here at Talla, turned out to have two surprising benefits.

The first benefit was recruiting. We always mention in interviews that we have these days off, and it’s the kind of quirky thing people remember. Sometimes people come in and ask if it’s true, because they heard we have March Madness holidays. In a world where tech candidates have dozens of options every time they look to switch companies, that quirky thing makes us memorable, which, anecdotally, seems to help at the margins when hiring.

The second benefit is that it has turned way more into a team bonding thing than I ever anticipated. I should be clear that it’s actually a day-and-a-half off, not two days. We work Thursday morning, and then we leave at noon to go somewhere together to watch games for a few hours. Then Friday is off all day. The team looks forward to the fun, and even though many of them don’t care that much about basketball, it’s become an interesting undertone in the culture that makes Talla feel special.

So, if you work in tech, and are a college basketball fan, yes, it’s true, we do have a March Madness holiday, and we are hiring. You can take a look at our open positions here

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