Unsolicited client testimonials carry a lot of weight. That's why, when Steve Klitsch, owner of Creative Concepts Remodeling, in Germantown, Md., gets one regarding one of his employees he passes it on.

First, Klitsch recognizes the employee in front of his peers at a staff lunch. Then he places the original letter in the customer file and mails a photocopy to the staff member's home with a card telling him or her how pleased a client was with their services. “If I give it to them at the office,” he says, “it might get lost in the toolbox or get put in a back pocket and go through the laundry. This way, I let the whole family know that their mom or dad, husband or wife is doing a good job at work.”

Klitsch encourages employees to keep these letters with their résumés, recognizing that “nobody is going to work for me for their whole career. It's fair to let them track their career history with these accolades.”

Klitsch began mailing the letters three years ago, and, he says, his employees really appreciate getting them. “They walk with a different gait when they get that stuff. And guys who weren't recognized get motivated.”