The purpose of the present work is carrying out analysis of possibilities to improve the professional competence of personnel by implementing the most effective model of staff development. The urgency of the work is stipulated by the undeniable fact that one of the most important issues in the personnel management system is the development of professional competencies. This is confirmed by the experience of leading companies in advanced countries, whose success is achieved primarily due to the creation of highly effective personnel management mechanisms, which are based on an integrated approach to the use and development of labor potential. Research methodology is based on the case-studies method oriented to the study of several models of personnel development of the companies involved in the study to compare their efficiency. This article describes the main theoretical and methodological aspects of people strategy development (staff development strategies) considering peculiarities and specificity of the socio-economic development of Russia. The article summarizes the key problems of people strategy development, which contribute to raising the level of professional competence of staff in the Russian business entities. The following conclusions were drawn based on research matter of the present article: - based on the analysis and empirical comparison of Russian and foreign approaches (case studies of Lundbeck, Nordea Bank, Media Market, and LANIT companies) to the staff development, basic strategic models that can be used to enhance the level of professional competence of employees of the Russian business entities have been structured; - it has been revealed that the most advanced systems of staff development aimed at enhancing the professional competence of the staff do not always have complex structure, at that more advanced staff development systems are adaptive and proactive (i.e. are focused on the development of competencies that will be needed not only in the present but in the future); - main recommendations for improving approaches to staff development of Russian business entities have been proposed considering the best foreign practices (best practices of leading European companies), as well as considering features of socio-economic development of Russia in the current transition period. The practical significance of the obtained results consists in the possibility of their use for the development of contemporary practice-oriented solutions related to the improvement of the personnel potential of Russian companies.