We study the role of excited phonon populations in the relaxation rates of nonequilibrium electrons using a nonequilibrium Green's function formalism. The transient modifications in the phononic properties are accounted for by self-consistently solving the Dyson equation for the electron and phonon Green's functions. The pump induced changes manifest in both the electronic and phononic spectral functions. We find that the excited phonon populations suppress the decay rates of nonequilibrium electrons due to enhanced phonon absorption. The increased phonon occupation also sets the nonequilibrium decay rates and the equilibrium scattering rates apart. The decay rates are found to be time-dependent, and this is illustrated in the experimentally observed population decay of photoexcited Bi1.5Sb0.5Te1.7Se1.3.