Have you considered how your compliance efforts can help drive innovation in your business? Employers in all industries can learn valuable lessons from the recent turmoil experienced by automakers General Motors and Volkswagen, and the benefits of compliance.

In recent years, the automotive industry has been rocked by recalls. General Motors was forced to recall 2.6 million vehicles in 2014 after a defect was found responsible for 13 deaths, according to Time. And in 2015, CNN reported that Volkswagen had been using technology designed to deceive emissions tests, resulting in the recall of half a million vehicles in the United States.

Leaders know how important compliance is for business success. Beyond avoiding negative PR, financial losses, and the tragic loss of human lives that may result from these missteps, there are benefits of compliance. Clear compliance standards may actually help businesses to grow. Reimagining compliance as an engine for managing risk and driving innovation can help companies remove barriers and adjust to marketplace demands.

While it may seem counterintuitive, Robert Biskup, a leader in the automotive sector, explains in a Deloitte/Wall Street Journal Q&A that a strong compliance protocol can actually empower businesses to better adapt. Rather than viewing compliance as a safeguard against crises, it's helpful to think of your efforts as keys to unlock further creativity. Biskup says, "Being risk agile, and embedding the controls that enable proactive management of compliance risk can invariably lead to faster and better decision-making, which helps compliance efforts to keep pace with innovation and growth."

A 2015 study conducted by PwC found that business leaders should include compliance officers early and often in the strategic process to help identify possible problems, collaborate in the decision-making process and ultimately maximize success. That approach not only delivers the best results, but it may help companies attract top talent for their compliance teams. Take stock of your compliance programs to identify ways in which the system can help support and drive change and encourage employees to view compliance as an ally to creativity.

Tags: Compliance innovation