Eat meals together. Preferably daily.
A few things:
Be willing to hear suggestions (actually, encourage it), accept constructive criticism.
I think there are three things here: where you want to go, the path you're going to take and how you're going to get there.
You need to communicate and demonstrate these again and again and again.
The values might include honesty, or they might not. Enron had a tremendously strong culture - their employees 'bled for the team colors, but integrity wasn't one of those colors.
The important thing is to figure out what is important to you, stick to it and demonstrate it. Do not compromise. If honesty is important to you, then be honest. Hire and keep honest people, and fire people who - no matter how smart they are - are not.
Make their contribution count: ask for their opinions, actually listen, do something about it, tell them how their contribution made a difference.
Assume you have (at least the start of) a vision and a passion (that is infectious).
If you back that up with honesty and trust (both ways), then those that get it will form your loyal core and it spreads from there.
Conversely, lack of that can destroy years of building the culture in a matter of months.
Get the right people on the bus and the wrong ones off.
Help & make sure they progress through the ranks, working all over the business and leave to go to better things. It's a marine thing!
Whether you own your own venture, or are a middle manager in a huge conglomerate, there's really only one way for you to develop that kind of loyalty and engagement among your employees: devote at least that same level of care to them, as individuals and as a group.
If you're not the kind of person who can do that (not everybody is, to be fair), then hire somebody who is. If you would like to be that person, but aren't sure how to go about it, then find resources (warning: shameless self-promotion ahead) like my blog (see my profile), or one of the great books on the subject, such as Peopleware.
I think it depends on the leaders and managers in the company.
First, don't treat them like kids. Tell them what is expected (be detailed), give them room to grow (encourage them to fail), give them the tools to do their job (like 4x 24" LCD monitors) and get out of the way (stay in your little corner/cubicle!) Reference: First, Break All The Rules book.
Don't point to them that you're the single most important dude in the company, because they don't like that. Since they also want to be the single most important dude in the company. So give them that chance to earn that, nurture that and stay that way.
However, don't encourage this kind of competition at the expense of others. Of course, focus on your rockstars, and have your rockstars focus on their fans. :)
I think as with all kinds of companies, the employees' jobs are to produce great products and services, and the manager's job is to produce great employees.
So going back to the no. 1 guiding principle, in my opinion, focus on your people. Treat them well, give them sustainable lifestyle, where the only thing they want to be doing is eating together (twice daily: lunch and snacks), discussing solutions and making your customers happy.
If you don't follow the advice of Joel, Markjee, and Scott, usually a culture will form on its own - though it might not be the one you want. In those cases, its usually one or two very outspoken individuals whose ideals spread through continuous contact with others. So whatever you do, figure out what you want, how to get it, and start early.
I really loved this management book - First, Break all the Rules. They studied top companies and did a thorough scientific study with Gallup polls to determine "what works".
That was an excellent book. I believe it was there that I read my favorite management tool - an anonymous comment box.
The manager said it was sometimes very difficult to read the comments, but he read them, re-evaluated and made changes as needed, and notified his people of the process.
Transparency and bravery are great management tools.
1) Shared Vision -> People want to be a part of something
2) Community -> Extend from 1), and like Joel said, eat together. It's more than a punch card job. Give them reasons to want to contribute to the success of a company and not let anyone down. Show you care about the individuals making up the organization and they'll care too.
3) Passion & Personality -> Excitement is contagious. So is negativity. Bring your personality to your company and find ways to make that a good, contagious thing. If people see you believe in the idea, they likely will too. Look at any CEO at a renowned company and I think you'll find that the company itself reflects the way they operate. That can be anything from the hard working fun of Richard Branson and Virgin to Jack Welch's no BS, efficient style formerly of GE.
Equity - with ownership comes responsibility and rewards.
Treat everyone the same, but different.
Let me explain. You have to understand what your team is good at and nurture it. Conversely, their weaknesses need to be developed. You do that by being fair and consistent in your interactions. You don't play favorites. You cater your management approached based on the person you are dealing with not some one size fits all approach.
Give a shit about them.
1- Rent a nice office in a cool part of town. Your staff may spend more time there than at home so they'd better like it. Make it a place they are proud to show to their family and friends. A lot of their professional confidence will come from feeling like they work at a successful business that can afford a fun and cool place to work.
2- Give people second chances. Some of my very most loyal (and capable) staff were given second chances. Nothing beats feeling like your "boss" cares that you learn to succeed. They are now lifelong friends.
3- Keep the hierarchy flat; make it a team of equal peers.
4- Never hire a prima donna, whose cockiness drives other employees out. No one likes a jerk, so fire them, your staff will respect you for keeping the team unified.
5- Keep a jar of colorful M&Ms in a visible place for the occasional treat. Of course limit consumption if you can to maintain a healthy staff!
6- Go out to lunch as a company at least once a month (on the company) and have a good time. Make sure it is a nice restaurant. No fast food.