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A good discussion to have at any company today. I would suggest a couple of other resources that are unlimited but left out of your analysis - time and attention. Both of which are pretty unlimited (we can make the argument that time is limited but c'mon.)

Spending time with employees and focusing on the work and contribution they make is something that can go a long way toward offsetting any reductions in the $, and tangible rewards.

Spend time with employees - chat, discuss, conversate!

I'm skeptical of too much focus on 'top performers' because they too are powered by many others. Top performers implies a limit on the number of people who can receive rewards. The problem is that if you only reward, say, 10 people, why should someone hustle to try to be #11? Too much overt drooling over top performers may result in demotivating anyone who doesn't make that rarified cut. Having said that, egalitarian pay is also rubbish. Superior performance should be rewarded accordingly or you'll lose your hook into your star performers. Companies need to find creative ways to recognize ALL superior performance, not just some arbitrarily set percentage of them.

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