I think team-building exercises can be educational. For example, escape room sessions are valuable when afterwards the escape room facilitators provide feedback and breakdown performance, highlighting strength across the board.
With team-building retreats, incorporating education, especially employee-led education, can blend the idea of fostering this sense of collaboration and camaraderie that these exercises are meant to with useful skills that benefit everyone.
But ultimately I agree — why not budget for continuing education stipends, $100 a month for even just one workshop, instead of always focusing on happy hours.
I think the question is this: if leadership doesn’t create this model, is there a bottom-up approach that can be put into place?