How to encourage people to take vacations
I've just had a challenge laid at my feet by the President of my company (an Architectural / Interior Design / Land Planning firm), which is how to encourage people to take vacation time. Currently, we have PTO policy where a person can carry over up to 10 days into the next year. They are automatically paid for any excess time beyond that which they can carry over, and have the option of cashing in any of the time that they could carry over. There are several people that regularly don't take any time off, or maybe a day or two, and then cash in everything they have left after the end of the year.
At the end of the last year, because of the worsening economy, we didn't allow the staff to cash in any of the up to 10 days they could carry over, but did pay for the excess days. This year we're anticipating that the same non-vacationers will end the year in their usual position of PTO time left. Since cash is tight, and we'd not like to be in the position of having to pay out cash for excess PTO at the beginning of next year, anticipating that the economy hasn't turned around by then, we would like to encourage all of our staff to take the time that they are due as time off, which was what it was intended for. We don't want to take the severe stand of "use it or lose it", but will if needed.
I assume that some of you have been in this position. Any suggestions on how to get staff to go out and enjoy life away from the office?