A bold and enduring corporate strategy for the Office of Environment Heritage New South Wales

A bold and enduring corporate strategy for the Office of Environment & Heritage New South Wales

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The Office of Environment & Heritage (OEH) is a New South Wales (NSW) Government agency that works to connect communities to conservation to deliver great outcomes for the environment and heritage.

A new corporate strategy to increase influence and impact

OEH sought a new corporate strategy that would increase its influence and impact, positioning itself as an agency with a flexible and responsive culture focused on helping government achieve its priorities. The new strategy would seek to articulate a compelling vision and mission particular to the agency which looks after the priceless assets of environment and heritage on behalf of the people of NSW.

Deep, human-centred engagement with staff and stakeholders led to the new strategy

Nous co-developed the strategy with OEH through a highly collaborative and human-centred process. We used innovative engagement techniques to consult with stakeholders, the OEH Executive and staff to co-develop a compelling narrative that aligned with NSW Government priorities, drawing on best practice in ‘strategic storytelling’. We then tested and refined this narrative through interactive workshops with staff. During the course of the project we:

  1. held interviews and workshops with the Executive and a targeted group of government stakeholders to co-design a draft strategy with a compelling narrative structure
  2. led 12 interactive workshops with OEH staff at locations across NSW, directly engaging over 550 staff – or almost 25% of the agency – to hear their ideas and insights, and gain buy-in
  3. refined the final draft with OEH’s Executive, including the insights and ideas gathered from staff, and clear links to NSW Public Service values and NSW Government priorities
  4. reflected the strategy back to staff through an innovative communications plan that included a launch event and a video of staff sharing their thoughts on the strategy they helped create.

Staff have taken the new strategy to heart

OEH’s new strategy is built around four distinct, intertwined outcomes – Conservation, Culture, Communities and Connection – which reflect OEH’s core areas of work and organisational values. It provides a clear and well-defined set of values and aspirations in a compelling narrative form to increase the influence and impact OEH has with stakeholders while aligning staff around the new strategic direction. By engaging staff in co-development, and reflecting their values and insights in the final strategy, we created an exceptional sense of alignment and buy-in which has been noted throughout the agency.

What you can learn from OEH NSW

Aligning values with outcomes is integral to fostering a high-performing organisation.

A well-defined and clear strategic purpose empowers staff.

Engaging staff and stakeholders to co-develop a strategy heightens relevance and buy-in.