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50 Most Admired Companies of The Year 2019

Cisive: Adding Innovation and Compliance to Every Client Obligation


Human Capital Management, or HCM, is the active acquisition, employment, and development of a company’s employees through strategic and tactical practices, processes, and applications to maximize their economic value. The set of Human Capital Management practices, procedures, and applications should be focused on the organizational need to provide specific competencies.

Risk management is a strategy to prepare for and lessen the effects of threats faced by a data center. Comparable to risk reduction, risk mitigation takes steps to reduce the adverse impact of threats and disasters on Business Continuity (BC). Threats that might put a business at risk include cyber-attacks, weather events, and other causes of physical or virtual damage to a data center.

Given the preceding, we’re thrilled to present Cisive.

Cisive is a global provider of compliance-driven human capital management and risk management solutions. The company’s core onboarding and pre-employment background screening offering provides clients with a streamlined, high quality, and regulatory compliant solution. Comprehensive services include background screening, vendor/contractor screening, executive screening, drug testing, fingerprinting, paperless onboarding, and electronic Form I-9/E-Verify solutions.

The company serves clients in financial services, transportation, telecom/media, utilities, and the home services end-markets, among others, and offers transportation clients a comprehensive, industry-focused solution through its Driver iQ brand.

The company was founded in 1977 and is headquartered in Holtsville, New York.

In Conversation with Jim Owens, President and CEO at Cisive

Q. What is the reason behind the genesis of Cisive? How did you expand your company and its offerings over the years?

Cisive (then called CARCO Group) was initially set up to provide risk mitigation services in two different areas: “pre-insurance” car inspections to verify the condition of used cars after a sale for insurance carriers to prevent insurance fraud, and what became known as pre-employment background screening. Over the past 40 years, we have grown from a mom-and-pop company starting with five employees in 1977 to a global company employing 900 people with 10 locations across the globe, providing background screening and employee onboarding services to Fortune 500 companies with facilities in 192 countries. We have remained remarkably faithful to our original purpose, even while drastically increasing in size and scope of our services – becoming one of the top background screening companies in the world.

Q. What challenges did you face in your initial years? What can your peers learn from it?

We started in background screening before people even knew what it was! We went door to door down on Wall Street and everyone we talked to wanted to know who else we had as a client. Getting the first client to have faith was a challenge. We persevered and today, financial services is one of our biggest verticals. We maintain the same approach to quality today despite the radical changes in technology that have happened over 40 years and despite other background screening companies coming on the scene and taking shortcuts.

“When you know you are right – don’t give up and don’t compromise your values.”

Q. A company’s behavior is as important as its economic performance or the quality of its products. How do you interpret this saying?

I see the quality of a company’s products and a company’s behavior as inextricably linked. It is somewhat in tension with economic performance. Sure, we are in business to make money. We do not place that first. We focus on the quality of our products and services. Then we have to be creative to figure out ways to make processes more efficient without compromising our core values.

Q. Is your company a ‘leader or follower’? Do you formulate your core values?

We are the leader! There are a few more prominent companies in our industry, but none better. We have set the standards in our industry for 40 years. Companies in our industry use us as the gold standard of comparison. They may sell against us by maximizing things we don’t such as low price or turn-around time performance, but they know where the high mark for quality and applicant experience is set and by whom.

Q. What are the five factors that have been the biggest asset to your organization?

  • Our employees – Without them, the company would not exist.
  • Our values – These are our guiding star: integrity – a steadfast commitment to quality and perseverance.
  • Our technology – We have labored and succeeded in building the best technology in our business and it gives us a substantial competitive advantage.
  • Our clients – We provide them superior service and in turn, they are our biggest advocates. We have gained much of our growth over the years through referrals!
  • Our investors –They have had faith in our approach to business, have stuck with our business plan, and have provided the capital that has enabled us to become the company we are today.

Q. Where do you see your company a couple of years from now?

I think the human capital landscape is going to continue to change over the next few years. We will be at the forefront. We are going to continue to develop leading-edge technology as the approach to talent acquisition and management continues to evolve. The nature of background screening is going to undergo a revolution in the next few years due to advances in technologies such as distributed ledgers (blockchain) and this will change the business models for background screening companies. We are seizing on that opportunity and will be out in front!

The Driving Force Behind the Triumph of Cisive

Jim Owens is the President and also serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Cisive and has been in that position since July 2009. He has over 25 years of experience in executive leadership, business operations, and technology.

As CEO, Mr. Owens has transformed Cisive into an HR technology-enabled services company with a dual focus on HR onboarding and background screening at industry-leading quality levels. Before joining Cisive, Mr. Owens was a senior architect at Cap Gemini Ernst and Young (CGEY). He designed and implemented large-scale systems, including several innovative web-based applications.

“We maintain the same approach to quality today despite the radical changes in technology that have happened over 40 years and despite other background screening companies coming on the scene and taking shortcuts.”