What motivates your people? Incentive organizers can't know for sure, so they make educated guesses and fill reward catalogs with trips, electronics, appliances, tools, apparel, and luxury goods. There's nothing wrong with the system, but there is a limit to what can be included. For participants in incentive programs run by Globoforce, however, the reward catalog is about to get exponentially larger. The Dublin, Ireland, and Sturbridge, Mass.-based incentive services company, which counts Johnson & Johnson among its clients, announced in June an exclusive relationship with online auction site eBay to offer eBay gift certificates and “Anything Points” as reward options in its online incentive programs.

Anyone who has clicked through eBay can attest to the incredible variety of merchandise. On one day this May, the world's biggest flea market had at least 10 Vespa Piaggio Italian scooters, 43 new Sony plasma televisions, 11 Ted Williams baseball cards, and one Hiawatha Arrow antique bicycle circa 1940 — a mere drop in the 22 million auctions that eBay estimates it hosts on any given day.

Globoforce CEO Eric Mosley says eBay's interest in global expansion made his company an attractive partner. Globoforce specializes in running online incentives for companies with a multinational presence. Instead of having one incentive site for employees around the world, Globoforce “makes the incentive program feel local,” says Mosley, by creating sites in the local language and currency and partnering with local retailers for the reward vouchers. Currently, eBay has sites in 22 countries outside the United States, including China, France, Mexico, and Australia.

Mosley acknowledges the challenge of rewarding employees with merchandise that doesn't come from established retailers. Globoforce, he says, will teach users about eBay's seller rating system and precautions buyers can take to help ensure a smooth transaction.