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Last updated on 3/21/24

Our Principles

Our four principles: care, dare, persist and tell it as it is
Our four principles: care, dare, persist, and tell it as it is

As the company grew, so did the staff. Lots had heard the OpenClassrooms story (some are former students!), but many had not. How could we make sure that everyone stayed aligned?

We needed to agree on a simple set of principles to drive our behavior. Everyone at the company brainstormed until we settled on four principles.

There are 4 principles:

  • We care

  • We tell it as it is

  • We dare

  • We persist

OpenClassrooms principles
OpenClassrooms principles

We Care

We care because caring is the foundation for building quality education. It's as simple as that. Without genuine care for our students, no educational journey could ever succeed.

It is paramount that we pay close attention to each student and address their specific needs. Thus, our pedagogical model revolves around providing a custom, supportive experience.

We emphasize human interactions throughout our online programs. One-on-one mentorship, an active online community, and support from student advisors and career coaches come together to make students feel cared for.

We strive to get it right the first time for students all day, every day. When we don't, we go out of our way to remedy the situation. If the mentor we selected for the student is not a match, we assign another one who is. If students fall behind on their study plan, we reach out to them with personalized tips to help them out.

Among OpenClassrooms team members, we try to care for and respect each other's opinions and perspectives as much as we can. This spirit guides all of our interactions.

We Tell It Like It Is 

As mentioned before, on no less than four occasions during OpenClassrooms’ history, the company had to make fundamental business model changes. Each big pivot meant dropping products that brought in up to 90% of the company’s revenues.

People had to be upfront with each other and recognize that today's profitability does not guarantee sustainable business growth in the long term.

At OpenClassrooms, we consider honesty to be the highest form of respect in every aspect of our activities: not only between colleagues when something is wrong but also across our communities.

One of the most impactful decisions “to tell it like it is” occurred during our seminar in Biscarrosse, where our chief revenue officer spoke for the entire leadership members about the need to get back to the basics. That’s right! Being a hyper-growth company sometimes means that we have to slow down, look at the basics, fix them, and then move forward again.

Boldly telling it like it is while remembering to be respectful is sometimes the best way to create real progress.

We Dare

In 2019, OpenClassrooms launched something that didn’t exist in the education world: online apprenticeships. Aligned with our mission, the student can financially access an education thanks to an employers’ support.

That’s an example of the daring spirit we want to keep alive: it’s the constant willingness to jump into the unknown and try new solutions and education techniques.

That is also the spirit we want to spread among the OpenClassrooms community. The road to knowledge is also a question of daring.

We Persist

It took nearly 20 years to build a globally scalable business proposition since its beginnings in 1999. On several occasions, OpenClassrooms had to radically pivot the business model to get to the next level.

In our willingness to shift toward success, we had to display incredible persistence - another feature we strive to maintain at OpenClassrooms.

We continuously launch new projects and experiment with new ideas in pursuit of a revolutionary learning experience.

From an education perspective: Learning something is daring, but after that initial drive, you won’t get anywhere if you don’t persist. Education isn’t a linear process; hard work overtime and staying persistent is the only way to reach a goal.

From a business perspective, our sales employees are the perfect example of persistence when it comes to not giving up when meeting with clients. They tell them how apprenticeships and reskilling employees can be valuable to their business.

More details

We defined these principles years ago. We believe we have enough hindsight today to draw some conclusions:

  • Defining principles was a good idea. We needed to write them down to talk about them, especially for new team members who don't know us; it defines expected behaviors. 

  • That's not enough (far from it). We need to live these principles every day. We need to remind them and set an example. 

  • We need to illustrate them. The principles can be inspiring but sound hollow, so we must provide concrete examples. 

  • We must also let go (a little). We should always respect our principles, but we are not perfect. We make mistakes. And that's okay. We shouldn't expect perfection, or we will be disappointed. Instead, we should talk about our mistakes ("We tell it as it is") to do better next time. 

  • We should detail them because everyone can interpret the principles a little differently. The more detail, the better (see illustration below).

The behaviors linked to our principles
The behaviors linked to our principles
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Example of certificate of achievement
Example of certificate of achievement