I was talking to a friend last weekend about her job as a physiotherapist. She’s worked at the same practice for a few years and was complaining about the high staff turnover (Personalfluktuation) she’d seen recently.
As she’s now one of the most senior (dienstälteste) therapists, she is responsible for training her new colleagues. The trouble is, every month colleagues come and go, and the time she’s spent training is time taken away from her patients!
It’s a classic case of: „If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.“
The idea behind this idiom is simple: if you want highly-motivated and loyal staff, you’ve got to be prepared to shell out (blechen) for it!
The closest German equivalent to „paying peanuts and getting monkeys“ is „Wer billig kauft, kauft zweimal“, although this saying has more to do with consumerism and less to do with payroll!