GEORGETOWN, KY.--Dec. 11--Almost everyone who lives in Central Kentucky knows someone who works at the Toyota plant in Georgetown.
With 6,500 workers now employed there, it's hard not to. The workforce is larger than the population of many small Kentucky towns. It's more than half the size of Georgetown.
But do we really know what it's like to work at one of the foremost auto plants in the United States? Usually, when you ask a Toyota worker, or team member as they're called, what it's like, a common response is that it's a great place to work.
A quick look at the profile of the average Toyota worker shows why. The average worker makes $19 an hour, or almost $40,000 a year, and that doesn't include overtime. The salary is more than double the per capita income in Fayette County.
Toyota benefits add up to an additional $7 an hour. Employees also have access to fitness and child-care centers.
RESPECT AND TEAMWORK It sounds too good to be true. But there's more to job satisfaction than earning a decent salary or receiving good benefits. One of the principles of the Japanese automaker's philosophy is to "be kind and generous; strive to create a warm, home-like atmosphere" for workers.
Inherent in Toyota's philosophy is a basic respect for its customers and employees. The company tries to instill the concept of teamwork among workers, who are empowered to make decisions.
In a recent speech to U.S. auto executives, Mikio Kitano, the Georgetown plant's president and chief executive …