Two of my direct reports, let's say Alice and Bob (names and genders changed), are at the center of a morale issue related to envy. Recently, Alice has been struggling to get work done, despite generally being a strong team member, so I've tried to praise her enthusiastically in team meetings when she's gotten things done. This generally seems to have been working and she's been getting things back on track.
However, Bob has noticed this, and mentioned to me in our weekly private tagup that he was feeling a little unappreciated, given that he's been producing even more effectively (and is, in general, a more valuable asset to the team). Bob is a bit of a cynical guy, and giving him the same sort of praise in the next meeting is just going to make him roll his eyes and get frustrated. Is there any way I can make Bob feel appreciated that will be interpreted as genuine rather than as a pro forma gesture?
Unfortunately, I can't give immediate financial feedback. Bob generally gets raises commensurate with his superior performance during the annual review process. However, it's my experience that yearly raises/bonuses (which is all we do here) don't do as much to increase morale as ones directly tied to specific actions. My inability to convince upper management of that is another story.