Do it. Do it ASAP. Do it now if possible. More than at any other time in many long-time public servants' careers, we are beginning to see, starkly, that one kind of Federal employee squeezes every 15-minute increment of credit hours he or she can from a day. Shamefully, this practice doesn't stop upon attainment of a GS-12, 13, 14, or even 15. Another kind of Federal employee has never signed for a single credit hour, yet is excited about donating untold hours to further the mission of his or her agency. Which of those Federal employees do we need to recruit and nurture? Which of those Federal employees can we most count on to stick things out through a long and challenging period of stressed resources? Which of those Federal employees wants to be in government service more? Which of those Federal employees is more likely to deliver productive, out-of-the-box results, year-in, year-out? And finally, which of those employees can SAVE us?
Do it. Do it ASAP. Do it now, if possible.
Start soliciting higher-graded hourly employees for voluntary conversion, subject to discretionary management approval -- we know who our workhorses are. And build triggers for conversion to salaried work into all new-hires' onboarding packages.
Make this happen, whether under exigency of business or national emergency or what-have-you, but get it going.
NOTE: DON'T pile on pay and benefit cuts as well; the culture we are obviously trying to promote is one of dedication + esprit de corps. By limiting compensation to salary but permitting professionals to work vigorously, payroll costs will tumble as productivity soars. If that doesn't happen, start training recruiters better, or replace them.