People are any company’s most valuable asset, yet so often corporate focus is directed elsewhere. In 2015, only 32% of US employees considered themselves “engaged at work” while the majority (50.8%) of employees were “not engaged,” and 17.2% were “actively disengaged.” Employers recognize this is a critical issue: 87% of organizations cite culture and engagement as one of their top challenges–engagement isn’t just an HR problem, it is now a business problem. 
Ask any executive today for their “digital” or “mobile” strategy and they’ll be able to rattle off a multi-point plan punctuated with synergistic jargon yet the majority of companies have yet to turn this inward to the way their own company operates internally. And this lack of strategy is costly: the companies with organizational culture that enables collaboration perform nearly 2x better than the general market.  This digital transformation of operating models is so critical, the World Economic Forum cited it as their top recommendation coming out of their 2015 meetings. 
Facebook is widely recognized as one of the best employers, topping Business Insider’s , Glassdoor’s , and Forbes’  lists of best places to work multiple years running. But beyond fabulous perks, Facebook employees cite open communication  and empowerment to independently do their jobs  as key drivers of impact and satisfaction.
Can Facebook Productize Its Culture?
Since their inception, Facebook the company has relied on Facebook the product to facilitate their business operations. Employees use internal Facebook groups to collaborate on projects, Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg use the platform to make company-wide announcements and to solicit feedback and Facebookers use Facebook messenger for more informal communication between co-workers. 
Recognizing how its communication platform enabled innovation within Facebook, Facebook is now trying to help other companies transform their internal operations to be digital. To do so, Facebook created Workplace, a suite of enterprise tools familiar to any Facebook user enabling real-time communication and collaboration. Workplace is separate from your personal Facebook account but it leverages the same familiar interface and features but in a corporate setting. Mark Zuckerberg says about the product: “[Workplace] is an app, but I think about it more as a way of running a company.” 
While enterprise social is a crowded space with Slack, Yammer, Hipchat and Jive clamoring for users, Facebook believes that Workplace has an edge: in addition to the interface already being familiar to 1.7 billion people worldwide, the product is a more holistic offering than its competitors. This enables Workplace to position itself as more than just a communication platform, but also an end-to-end internal digital solution. This familiar interface has also enabled Facebook to target a broader spectrum of workers than its competitors, who tend to go after office workers.  As a Facebook executive explained, “No training needed. It’s for everyone: from factory workers, to baristas in the coffeeshop, to the CEO.” 
Initial adopters have been satisfied. Here are a selection of comments:
- “It makes a company smaller and more human, just like Facebook does for the world in general.” – Nisaba Godrej, Executive Director, Godrej Consumer Products, India 
- “I think Facebook lets us communicate, discuss and solve problems that other solutions, such as email, simply can’t. Email, in our experience, is hierarchical.It tends to be used for broadcasting, for cascading information [and isn’t] for discussion or feedback. When provided with a tool which changes that dynamic, people are choosing to tap into things [they wouldn’t have with email]. Facebook at Work allows people to naturally come together into groups [in] a non-hierarchical way.” – Kevin Hanley, head of design at RBS 
Is Facebooking All Day Enough?
The digital transformation of business operations is crucial for companies to be able to continue to be competitive in a changing workplace. While Facebook Workplace has grand ambitions and a proven track record at Facebook the company, it has yet to be proven elsewhere. Additional questions Facebook needs to consider as it rolls out Workplace:
- Is a digital product enough to transform a company’s operating model? While Facebook’s operations are clearly optimized for digital workplace, is getting 200,000 bank employees on an app enough to change the company culture and the way it operates?
- Are there other components of Facebook’s operating model that aren’t captured in Workplace? Facebook employees often cite perks, face-to-face meetings and company art as enablers of innovation. Are these captured in the Workplace offering? If not, how can they be translated into product features?
- Can Facebook change its own operations to be successful at enterprise sales? Facebook’s salesforce historically has sold an almost monopoly product–just about every digital marketer needs to buy ads on Facebook. How will it be able to compete in a more crowded space with a fundamentally different revenue model?
Facebook is betting that its Workplace model will be the future of collaboration, helping digitally transform the way other companies do business. Only time will show whether or not Facebook can actually be friends with business.